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District 6 Ponte Vedra Hosts District 4 Bolles at 7:00pm
Once a rivalry between two of the best programs in that area years ago, Ponte Vedra has pulled away in recent years. In the regular season Ponte Vedra defeated Bolles 16-2 at home. That was in early March but there’s no reason to believe the gap will narrow that much.
PV eased past Lake Mary 12-5 in the last round and Bolles squeaked out an exciting 17-16 win over Maclay.
Bolles has had an excellent season but Ponte Vedra has had a dominant one.
Ponte Vedra will win this comfortably in their continued march to the elusive gold ring
District 12 Bishop Moore travels to District 16 Jesuit of Tampa at 7:00pm
This is likely a similar game to the first one but Jesuit did have more of a challenge in their district to get them prepared for the brackets. But Bishop Moore still has some top-end talent that should make the difference.
Bishop Moore held on for the 9-8 win over LHP last round and Jesuit also held on for the 7-6 win over Newsome in the last round.
Jesuit’s season was one of overcoming injuries and winning lower scoring games, but they did have trouble scoring against their best opponents and that will be the difference here against a solid BM defense.
Bishop Moore wins this one after a close first half but eventually wears down Jesuit in the second half and figure about a 5-6 goal win.
District 17 Cardinal Mooney travels to District 24 Jupiter at 7:00pm
And now we get to the most difficult one to predict. First, I hope the FHSAA re-thinks their home and away criteria this summer and makes a small tweak to include a two-year perspective. This is the 2nd straight year CM will have to travel to play this game. In my area that would not be too big a deal but this is about a 4-hour bus ride between these locations and maybe there should be discretion when there is a regional final rematch to split the home games.
Having said that, this is a little different dynamic from last year. CM has already done one of these trips this year, with their road game versus Saint Andrew’s so it won’t be new for this season. Second, unlike last year, CM has had a better year than Jupiter and is rated higher coming into the game.
In my pre-season article, I noted that home field would be an enormous advantage for the reasons listed above and that still is true. The weather forecast for today could also play a major role. The forecast is for the heaviest rain to roll through around 3:00-4:30 and then possibilities for rain will taper off. A postponement if it happens would be very tough for Cardinal Mooney while a clearing sky would be optimal for them.
Jupiter has shown a good offense/bad offense tendency this season and a mediocre effort there tonight could be fatal since CM’s strength is on that end. The CM road win over Bishop Moore was a confidence builder.
CM easily beat Barron Collier 15-5 and Jupiter shut out Melbourne Central 7-3 to get here.
Jupiter has played a tougher overall schedule, but Cardinal Mooney has played their top opponents more consistently. There’s still the unknown going in about the weather and that could make the difference.
But in an all things is equal game (beyond the trip) I think Cardinal Mooney has enough offense to win a tight game and get to their first Final Four.
District 28 St. Thomas Aquinas travels to Gulliver Prep at 4:00pm
The 4:00pm start, for those wondering, is because Gulliver does not have lights, and that will cut down unfortunately on the number of attendees.
St. Thomas comes off the incredible game with Saint Andrew’s and Gulliver made their way off the 12-11 win over Western.
Gulliver surprised me when watching the stream with their size and athleticism but that is also STA’s calling card and they have more of it, particularly foot speed in the midfield.
Gulliver struggled last season but turned it around late in the season but their schedule is no where near what STA played.
STA gets back to the Final Four in a similar fashion to Bishop Moore, a close enough game in the first half that they break open in the second half and win going away.