Blood In The Water as the Ponte Vedra Sharks Capture Their First FHSAA Crown!

 

thanks to Ted Swoboda for the pictures!

 

15/12/11.

That’s not the European way of saying December 15th, 2011.

That’s the stat line of the second half.  The stat line of the ultimate efficiency of a high school lacrosse team.

15 shots . . . 12 shots on goals . . . 11 goals . . . oh, and 3 turnovers just to show there was some human frailty in those 24 minutes.  Well, they lost the faceoff battle too . . .

8-5 at halftime turned into running time in the fourth.

To those in attendance, those watching the NFHS broadcast, even those who were from Raider Nation . . . just tip your cap to what happened last night; you won’t likely see this level of lacrosse over 48 minutes, on both sides of the ball, for quite a while.  Even if Inside Lacrosse will not acknowledge Ponte Vedra as a Top 25 national ranking, we the Florida lacrosse community can.  This game was certainly a Top 25 performance.

 

 

STA Head Coach Terry Crowley, before the game, talked about ‘big time players making big time plays’.  His big time player, Brock Gonzalez, put out a valiant effort with 5 goals. Jared Chenoy won the faceoff battle as expected but it didn’t impact the game like in previous rounds.  Coach Crowley, before the game, also let me in on how he wanted to attack the PV defense.  After watching the game I can say the strategy was sound, but there was not enough ability to keep it up for the game.  If you look back at the opportunities on offense STA was far more effective in transition and EMO than in the settled look.  In 6 on 6 the Ponte Vedra defenders (Max Schalit, Tommy Zitiello, Davis Smith and Riley McCormick) completely controlled play.  Many one on one matchups behind the net were turned over by the PV long poles and that was a fear going in.  In the second half any offensive strategy was moot, as PV dominated possession and limited the STA offense to 4 shots on goal in the final 24 minutes.  For the game the Raiders were held to 13 shots on goal on 29 attempts as the PV long poles challenged everything.  STA’s other top guns were held in check and as the second half went on even the most ardent STA fan could see it wasn’t going to be their day.

 

 

As for PV’s approach, before the game Head Coach Tom West mentioned how he wanted to quickly close in on the faceoffs and strip the ball quickly and that did happen a few times when Chenoy did not win cleanly.  And only a few times did Chenoy generate a scoring chance when in previous games he did, and he was held off the scoreboard.  Coach West also wanted to take advantage of his pole’s athleticism and seek double teams and that was very effective too.

But he also indicated he was pretty happy with leaving the offense alone.

Good choice.

Because his big time players made plenty of big time plays . . .

 

 

Congratulations to the Ponte Vedra program, the coaching staff, the players and families.  Another public high school showing the ONLY true way to approach this sport is focused on two words.  No, those two words are not Public/Private or Big/Small.  The magic words are Feeder Program.  Every champion has taken the time and made the effort to build them and PV is no different.

Let’s remember that as we discuss the direction this sport evolves towards in future years.

 

 

The first quarter showed PV jumping out early and often.  Just 11 seconds in it was Jimmy Burns winning the faceoff as Zitiello swooped in and headed upfield before zipping one to the top corner.  At 10:58 it was Carter Parlette finding Patrick Dotsikas on the right crease from left GLE for 2-0.  Dylan Hess added to it 38 seconds later on a left wing face dodge to the front for the low shot and at 9:20 PV made it 4-0 as Hess took the Dotsikas behind feed on the left wing for the step down, forcing the early STA timeout.  The one PV weakness, taking penalties, then played a fresh role amd STA converted twice on EMO to cut it to 4-2.  At 7:50 Grant Laman finished the left top pass from Nick Yovino on low left and at 6:33 it was Lucas Gauch finding Gonzalez on the right wing for the left hand.  PV responded at 5:18 as Hess found Parlette cutting down the right alley from up top and Parlette ripped the top right shot.  Then with 12 seconds left in the quarter it was Parlette again, as Freddie Demarzo finding him up top and the step down found low left for 6-2.

 

 

STA cut it to 6-3 at 9:33 as Gonzalez dodged from the top right to the middle and he hit the low right corner.  37 seconds later Demarzo responded with a face dodge on the left wing to the front for the 7-3 lead.  At 6:26 it was Gonzalez finding the loose ball up top and going down the middle for the low left hand shot, drawing the penalty on top and at 5:39 the EMO was converted as Kyle Engel found Gonzalez on low right from top right for the high short side shot that cut the lead to 7-5 but with 3:14 left it was Freddie Amato curled from behind right and his left-hand got through Wade Lamon’s legs to make it 8-5 at the half.

But just three minutes into the second half it was all systems go for the Sharks.

 

 

At 10:55 it was Hess from Parlette as Hess snuck backdoor to the crease to take the feed.  At 10:12 Dotsikas finished low right from Joe Taraboletti’s right wing feed and at 9:35 Jack Dowd dodged left from up top and ripped the left hand to the high short side and just like that it was the biggest lead of the game at 11-5.  And when the end of the quarter had come it was an 8-0 quarter as Dotsikas from Hess was followed by Dowd from Zitiello, Hess unassisted, Hess from Parlette on the EMO and Parlette with the face dodge with 1:43 to go and all suspense was quickly extinguished at 16-5.

Dotsikas and Demarzo made it 11 in a row before Cooper Scully finally got STA back on the board with the up top split dodge and low shot.  Aidan Dunigan added one for PV at 5:20 and Gonzalez finished off his fantastic season with his 5th on the EMO.  Pretty fitting for that Raider.

Another one in the books but the good news is that it is only about nine months to go until we get to start it again . . . that’s an appropriate timeframe as we celebrate Mother’s Day today!

 

 

 

 

Team Statistics

 

Faceoffs:  STA 19-12

Shots:  PV 34-29

Shots on Goal:  PV 23-13

Turnovers:  STA 20-9

Penalties:  PV 5-2

 

 

Individual Statistics

 

Ponte Vedra

Dylan Hess  5G/2A

Carter Parlette  3G/3A

Patrick Dotsikas  3G/1A

Freddie Demarzo  2G/1A

Jack Dowd  2G

Freddie Amato, Joe Taraboletti and Tommy Zitiello with 1G/1A each

Aidan Dunigan  1G

Cam Welsh  1A

Noah Parlette and Charlie Dykstra combined for 6 saves

 

St. Thomas Aquinas

Brock Gonzalez  5G

Grant Laman and Cooper Scully with 1G each

Kyle Engel, Nick Yovino and Lucas Gauch with 1A each

Wade Lamon and Tucker Swinerton combined for 4 saves

 

Thanks to Coach West and Coach Crowley for talking to me before and after the game . . . as well as many times during the season!

 

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