Jupiter ended their ‘gauntlet’ week with a solid 14-9 win over a Lake Highland team that tired late in the game Saturday afternoon in Jupiter. I’m not able to check this out but I can’t remember the last time any team beat both SA and LHP within 2 days of each other and if so that is a heck of an accomplishment. Over the past few years Jupiter’s offense was known for its’ efficiency and that returned to the fore yesterday as they hit the cage with 23 of their 33 shot attempts while LHP’s shooters only registered 24 of 43. If that doesn’t improve it’s hard to see LHP challenging for the state title this year. LHP is now 0-4 against the best teams in the southeast this season as against 2-2 last season. Improvement is paramount.
Both teams were quite active this week and each have now played 5 games in the last nine days and it showed late. Heavy legs in the fourth for LHP (they did travel, Jupiter was finishing up an 8-game home stand) on defense as Jupiter was able to pull away after LHP spent the whole game trying to come from behind. It was a similar pattern to the SA game the night before as LHP fell behind 4-0 quickly, as Jupiter pushed the pace. It took LHP too long to get into any offensive rhythm and the shots in the first half were there but too many sidearm efforts when overhead would have been more effective. And when they did hit goal Jupiter goalie Ethan Randell stood tall, making 9 saves in the first half. LHP goalie Michael Fess got dialed in after the early 4-goal run to come up with 5 saves in 7 shots on net the rest of the half to give LHP time to get going. LHP was able to crawl back within one early in the third quarter but that was as close as they got and Jupiter pretty much did the same thing they did Thursday night, out-scrapping their opponent and this time not letting themselves commit the mental errors of that day.
The regular season is rapidly coming to a close and these two programs play stacked schedules. Jupiter ends with a neutral site game with Benjamin, a road game at #20 Martin County and a home game against #1 STA while LHP ends with Top 10 Bishop Moore, Jamie Munro’s Mountain Vista (Co.) and Saint Viator (IL.).
This is setting up to be a very interesting period for Florida lacrosse.
The clock was not working for this game so we can’t give the time goals were scored. As a matter of fact, I even missed the fourth quarter faceoff. I COULD blame it on the others I was in the press box with . . . nah, my fault.
And I have to admit that some of the LHP numbers were a little difficult for me (the press box is WAY up and away from the field, more so than pretty much anywhere down here with the possible exception of Palm Beach Central) so apologies if I get someone wrong.
I really can’t explain LHP’s slow starts in some of these big games. 5-0 after ten minutes on Friday and 4-0 after 4 minutes on Saturday is not a formula for success. It also pretty much guarantees a road to climb and that is both physically and mentally taxing. If their players think they can just turn it on when they need it . . . well, put that thought away. Playoffs are looming . . . as will a stunning early exit if they don’t fix this. Imagine if the FHSAA didn’t move Bishop Moore out of their district this year . . .
Jupiter has really stepped up this year. But for the program all these out of district games are nice to have, but not needed to advance.
Next week we get Jupiter-Benjamin 1.0 . . . more about bragging rights for the short term and for a mental edge.
But J-B 2.0 means an awful lot more.
The almost prohibitively likely District final.
And with St. Edwards rapidly falling down the rankings this likely decides who goes to the Final Four. Will Barron Collier or Gulf Coast or Martin County or someone else have a say?
Maybe, but not likely.
Remember, Jupiter hosts the Final Four.
Benjamin certainly does.
And on Thursday we’ll see who draws first blood.
As noted, Jupiter scored the first four goals of the game within about 4 minutes (this was when the clock went out). Just 7 seconds into the game it was Dylon Frankhouser popping forward the opening faceoff and he found Michael Dean on the left side for the step down to the low right corner. An early LHP penalty gave Dean the chance to find Tanner Gabriel on the right wing from behind for the step down to the low left for 2-0. Kenny Cronin made it 3-0 on a right alley dodge and Dean then found Denver Aranda on the left wing from GLE for the between the legs shot for 4-0. Lukas Kott got one back for LHP as he dodged from left wing to the right alley and found the low left corner but that was answered by Gabriel finding Aranda cutting the middle and he hit the left side. LHP closed to 5-2 after the first on James Pokorny’s rebound off a save near the left crease.
Jupiter made it 6-2 early in the second as Chris Radice went solo to the cage with a left wing face dodge and a low shot. LHP responded right away as the next faceoff was popped forward and Christian Cisneros took advantage to finish from the right crease for 6-3. Cisneros then made it 6-4 at the half as he curled from behind left and he finished between the legs of Randell to end the second.
Cisneros completed the natural hat trick to open the third as he went from right GLE up the alley before going low with the left hand for 6-5. Aranda responded with two for Jupiter to stretch it back to 8-5. First he took a crease side feed from Benno Janssen for the one timer and then Dean found him from right GLE cutting to the right alley for the low left shot. Kott made it 8-6 going down the left alley and although Randell got a good piece of it the shot crawled over the line. Jupiter then closed out the 3rd with two goals to take the 10-6 lead after three. First it was Radice finding Devon Rasmus on the left wing for the step down and then Janssen took advantage of the late EMO to face dodge from the right side to the crease for the high shot.
LHP came back with the first two of the fourth to halve the lead to 10-8. On EMO it was Kott feeding Jack Vaughan on the right wing from up top for the step down and then Ethan Carpenter found Kott top left from left GLE for the top left corner rip, but that was as close as LHP would get. Jupiter ran off four goals to break the game open as LHP’s defense and middies wore down. Riley Linden contributed two unassisted right alley dodges, Frankhouser with the clean faceoff win and clear path, and Aranda scoring his fifth off Dean’s fourth assist. A late goal by Joe Doremus off a Cisneros feed finished the game with a 14-9 Jupiter win.
The long ride back to Orlando was a good time to think through what LHP needs to work on . . . fast.
Faceoffs: LHP 13-12
Shots: LHP 43-33
Shots on Goal: LHP 24-23
Turnovers: LHP 12-10
Penalties: LHP 4-3
Denver Aranda 5G
Michael Dean 1G/4A
Riley Linden 2G
Tanner Gabriel, Chris Radice, Benno Janssen and Dylon Frankhouser with 1G/1A each
Kenny Cronin and Devon Rasmus with 1G each
Ethan Randell with 15 saves
Christian Cisneros and Lukas Kott with 3G/1A each
James Pokorny, Jack Vaughan and Joe Doremus with 1G each
Ethan Carpenter 1A
Michael Fess with 9 saves
Thanks to Coach Loftus and Coach Spaulding for talking to me before and after the game