High School Girls

May 2, 2012

South Girls' Regional Report (May 2)

by Rhiannon Walker | LaxMagazine.com

Top Performers

Mackenzie Smith, Vero Beach (Fla.)
Eight was the magical and relevant number for Smith and Vero Beach when the Fighting Indians topped St. Edwards (Fla.) 21-7 in the District 18 championship game. Smith, a Vanderbilt signee, led all scorers with eight goals, securing Vero Beach's eight consecutive district title. "This was my last district championship ever. I wanted to go in pretty strong and I think I did pretty well." Smith told TCPalm. Said coach Shannon Dean: "That was a monster game for Mackenzie. She's been a leader for us all year long."

Nicole Vella, Bishop Moore (Fla.)
Allowing 30 goals in two games against Winter Springs (Fla.) might look like a lot, but considering the strength of the Bears' attack, it's actually quite reasonable. More than anything, though, Vella stood tall when the Hornets needed her most. She made 10 strong saves in Bishop Moore's 18-16 defeat of Winter Springs last week, avenging a loss earlier in the season.

Francesca Sartori, Episcopal Houston (Texas)
Sartori, an All-State defender, has drawn the assignment of slowing each opposing team's top offensive threats, along with fellow All-Stater Holly Thomas. Sartori, averaging 3.1 ground balls per game thus far, has led the Knights' defense that has allowed just 9.7 goals per contest, which ranks in the top-10 in the state.

Games to Watch

TBD at Vero Beach (Fla.) – May 4
Vero Beach has never lost an FHSAA playoff game under coach Shannon Dean (21-0), and last Monday's victory was the Indians' 89th in a row against an in-state opponent. The Fighting Indians will face either Pope John Paul II (Fla.) or the Pine Crest School (Fla.) in Florida's final four.

Lassiter (Ga.) at Milton (Ga.) – May 4, 6 p.m.
There's no better way to end the regular season than a meeting between two schools 10 miles apart in the northern suburbs of Atlanta. Lassiter will get a chance to show Milton how much it has changed since last year's early-season 16-3 loss.

Durham Academy (N.C.) at Ravenscroft (N.C.) – May 10, 6 p.m.
The two best teams in North Carolina's Independent conference will do battle to determine the division winner. Ravenscroft won last week's meeting, 14-8, so Durham will have extra motivation for the rematch. A year ago, Durham took both contests by a combined three goals: 11-10 and 12-10.

1. Vero Beach (Fla.), 19-2
The Fighting Indians won their eighth straight District 18 title last week with a 21-7 win over St. Edward's (Fla.). After a bye in the first round of the state tournament, Vero Beach topped Barron Collier (Fla.), 19-9 and Gulf Coast (Fla.), 18-0. With the latter victory, the Fighting Indians advanced to take on the winner of Pine Crest School (Fla.) vs. Pope John Paul II (Fla.) in the state semifinals.

2. Milton (Ga.), 13-4
Milton prepared for the postseason by playing its toughest slate of games yet, against three strong teams from the Mid-Atlantic. The Eagles beat Bishop Ireton (Va.) after losing back-to-back games to nationally ranked St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (Va.) and Georgetown Visitation (D.C.). Now, Milton can turn its attention to posting an undefeated record in Georgia and taking the state's AAAAA crown. But before the playoffs start, a Friday Night Lights showdown against No. 8 Lassiter (Ga.) waits.

3. Bishop Moore (Fla.), 18-4
Since losing to Sacred Heart Academy (N.Y.), Bishop Moore has rattled off six straight wins, the last five of which have come in postseason play, as the Hornets have advanced all the way to Florida's final four. They also beat Lake Brantley (Fla.), 13-9, in their last regular season game.

4. Green Hope (N.C.), 15-0
The Falcons finished the regular season with an unblemished record, and they will soon learn of their first-round postseason pairing. Green Hope topped rival Apex (N.C.) at home, 14-13, in its biggest win of the season.

5. Winter Springs (Fla.), 20-2
The Bears avenged their only loss regular-season loss by beating Lake Brantley (Fla.), 19-16, in the first round of the state playoffs. But three days later, Winter Springs tripped up against Bishop Moore (Fla.), losing 18-16 in another high-scoring game.

6. St. John's (Texas), 13-3
The Mavericks got revenge against Cy-Fair (Texas), taking the rematch between the rivals 14-10 on Monday, after losing 11-10 in overtime earlier in April. The only other blemishes on St. John's record came against Florida's Bishop Moore and Winter Springs.

7. Cy-Fair (Texas), 12-3
Cy-Fair couldn't contain St. John's the second time around, dropping a 14-10 decision on Monday. The good news for the Iron Maidens? The teams are scheduled to meet a third time in the state championship tournament. Get your popcorn ready.

8. Lassiter (Ga.), 14-3
The Trojans were upset by Walton (Ga.) two weeks ago, which snapped their unbeaten streak in the state, but they rebounded by beating two top teams — Westminster (Ga.) and Kell (Ga.). Now, Lassiter (Ga.) gets a chance to surprise powerhouse Milton (Ga.) in the regular-season finale, before the playoffs open May 9.

9. Westminster (Ga.), 14-2
The Wildcats lost a tough test against Lassiter (Ga.) but bounced back to beat Riverwood (Ga.) 17-4, helping build momentum at the end of the regular season. Westminster will open Georgia Class AAAA-A playoffs on May 8.

10. Lake Brantley (Fla.), 14-7
The Patriots looked like they could cause some damage in the postseason when they beat Winter Springs (Fla.) 15-14 in early April. But after winning its first two games of the state tournament, Lake Brantley faced the unenviable task of having to play Winter Springs for the second time in less than a month. The Patriots lost 19-16, which ended their 2012 season.

News and Notes

Immokalee (Fla.) assistant coach Jamie Flatley recently described the Lady Indians' 2012 season — their third as a varsity program — after a district loss to Gulf Coast (Fla.). Flatley wrote to Lacrosse Magazine: "The Lady Indians are not the fastest [and] they do not have the greatest stick skills — yet — but they somehow seemed to hold a team whose 90 percent if its players have been playing lacrosse for eight-plus years. The average amount of years the Lady Indians have under their belt of lacrosse is two. Three at the most. In less than four months, the Lady Indians were able to hold a stick, pick up a ball, sustain a controlled cradle, throw, catch and shoot. Not every ball remained in control, not every throw was caught and not every shot was a goal, but the Lady Indians were able to make it there. 'You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take,' and the Lady Indians had taken every single one of them. With only four returning players this year, five graduating seniors, and a full line-up of fun, unique and talented young girls, the Lady Indians are ready for nothing more than fun and fairness for the years to come."

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