Many of my readers know that once in awhile I like to comment on a game in a Big Brother, Little Brother kind of way.
And that is pretty succinct in how last night’s Elite Eight game went.
For many years the Gulf Coast has been the little brother of high school lacrosse in this state.
But as everyone knows who is a little brother, the passing of time narrows the gap . . . the big brother has already gone through the growing pains and knows had to handle certain situations while the little brother still is finding their way. And the Gulf Coast took a big leap up this year, which will portend well for both them and the state.
And there’s another thought I like to emphasize in these games and that you need to learn how to win the big games. As Coach Derek Wagner and I walked off the field we talked about that and he noted that while disappointing last night will be good for helping his program, which took a major leap up the Polls this season, to see what else they need to do to become a true state contender.
Coming into the game the Cougar’s offense was held to single digits just twice, and had scored at least 12 in all the other games. But to score a lot of goals you need a lot of possessions and that was what Jupiter focused on last night. Dylan Frankhouser dominated at the faceoff, going 15 for 17 and both of those losses were in the first quarter, so there was no possibility of make it, take it for CM. Jupiter’s possessions were also patient, taking a lot of time off the clock. Throw in 5 less turnovers and you had the formula for success last night.
And when CM got the ball, they found a lot of trouble getting looks as Jupiter’s long poles were able to take away potential interior looks with rapid double teaming from the blind side. The potent young attack of Jr. Mike McMahon, Soph Joseph Jackson and Fr. Christian Laureano combined for only 1G and 1A total as CM only got off 17 shots the whole game. Compare that to the fact the team had SCORED 15 or more goals FIFTEEN times this season. There’s an old saying that defense wins championships and that was shown last night. Jupiter’s Joey Bretz was extraordinarily effective on McMahon in particular.
On the offensive side Jupiter had a Benno Janssen hat trick and 6 other goal scorers, making it hard for CM’s defense to be able to isolate someone to stop. CM goalie Nicholas Petruccelli made 11 saves to keep the Cougars close but after they closed within one goal 3 minutes into the 3rd quarter Jupiter showed why they were the big brother, shutting out CM over the last 21 minutes of the game. Nothing indicated that more than how Jupiter was able to run out almost the entire last 4 minutes of the game to seal the victory.
Guess which one is the MD?
One great thing about last night for me was meeting a new group of parents that I hadn’t had a chance to meet before.
At least the Red Devil tweet from last night was clarified . . .
If I get to go to the Sarasota area next season I know who I want to check in with!
What spells the growth of the popularity of the game more than this?
Maybe next season FLN will run a contest for the biggest fan out there . . . be warned, the opening gambit is pretty strong!
Jupiter opened the scoring at 10:32 as Denver Aranda stole the goalie’s outlet pass for the easy putaway for 1-0. Exactly 3 minutes later it was 2-0, on the EMO, as Tanner Gabriel found Janssen on the right wing from right behind and Janssen hit the high short side. Laureano got one back at 5:07, also on the EMO as he took Chip Jackson’s low right skip pass on the left wing for the step down to the far corner. Eric Martin then tied it up at 2-2 at 1:12 as worked the low right side. got near the crease and hit the left hand in the short side but Janssen regained the lead for the Warriors with 26 seconds left as he curled left up the alley and hit the high short side for 3-2 after one.
The Cougars tied it up again at 8:27 of the second as Martin’s right alley bounce shot kicked high for 3-3. Jupiter then went on a 3-goal run to take a 6-3 halftime lead. Garrett Vincent cut in from the left wing on a delayed penalty and his split dodge ended with the low shot at 8:02. Janssen then finished off the 4 on 3 fast break, as the ball went from the top to the top left to the low left, with the assist from Aranda at 4:22 and with 1:40 left it was Chris Radice with the curl from behind left, leaning into the middle for the low shot.
CM came out strong in the third and less than two minutes in it was Joseph Jackson working behind the net and catching the defender in the netting before his left crease pass found Ryan Katchen on the right crease for the quick stick and 6-4. Mike Bavaro made it a one-goal game at 8:51 as his shot deflected off the defender in front and eluded goalie Riley Quinn and the Cougar faithful sensed momentum. But the next few possessions did not result in any further scoring efforts and at 2:10 it was Gabriel taking the Aranda feed at top left and his bullet found the low right corner to make it 7-5 after three.
Jupiter put two more up early in the fourth and put the game away for all intent. First it was Trevor Sousa cutting the crease and taking the behind the net feed from Radice at 10:48 and a little over two minutes later it was Max Sanderson on the low right on the Janssen feed from top right and his shot hit the top short side. And from then on it was ball control, as CM was limited to only 2 shot attempts the entire 4th quarter.
Both Cardinal Mooney and Tampa Jesuit reached the Elite Eight this year and both gave a great showing last night. CM got their breakthrough win this season over STA and TJ is not a stranger to great games in their past. Maturity is coming rapidly to the Gulf Coast.
And that’s a great thing!
To the seniors who played last night for Oak Hall, Cardinal Mooney, Tampa Jesuit and Belen Jesuit . . . thank you for all your efforts! For all the hard work. And to those who supported you the same. Good luck to all of you as you go on to the next stage of your lives!
Faceoffs: Jupiter 15-2
Shots: Jupiter 36-20
Shots on Goal: Jupiter 20-11
Turnovers: CM 15-10
Penalties: CM 6-3 (two in the last 7 seconds)
Benno Janssen 3G/1A
Denver Aranda 1G/2A
Chris Radice and Tanner Gabriel with 1G/1A each
Garrett Vincent, Trevor Sousa and Max Sanderson with 1G each
Hunter Bracci and Riley Quinn combined for 6 saves
Eric Martin 2G
Christian Laureano, Ryan Katchen and Mike Bavaro with 1G each
Joseph Jackson and Chip Jackson with 1A each
Nicholas Petruccelli with 11 saves