High School Hysteria Blog
In this week's podcast, Florida Lacrosse News' Lee Roggenburg and discuss the significance of Boca Raton's victory over St. Andrew's, Jupiter's big win over defending state champ Lake Highland Prep, some of the state's under-the-radar teams and the biggest upcoming games.
St. Andrew's has dominated Florida lacrosse over the past two decades. That comes as no secret. Specifically though, SA has cruised through Palm Beach County during that stretch. Entering Tuesday night, no Palm Beach County team had beaten SA in a over a quarter-century, the last being when Pope John Paul II topped the Scots 6-5 in 1989.
That changed on Tuesday night.
In front of its home crowd, Boca Raton High School edged St. Andrew's 6-5, beating the Scots for the first time in school history. It was also the first time SA has ever lost a District Game.
"Number one it kinds of puts us on the map," said Boca Raton head coach Chris Holly. "It gives us confidence we can compete with anyone on the state."
The most amazing aspect of the win, though? It wasn't much of an upset.
Over the past few years, Boca Raton has crept closer and closer to joining the state's elite, but has been held at bay each time each time it inched closer.
Last year, the Bobcats suffered through an unfathomable amount of heartbreak. Against Final Four representative Benjamin, they fell 10-8. One week later, they dropped a one-goal game to Jupiter (17-3). Three weeks later, they lost by two goals to Vero Beach (15-3). They were there at the end of every game, but were unable to snatch that signature victory.
No game was more devastating then the District Championship, however. Facing St. Andrew's, Boca Raton held a 9-7 lead with six minutes remaining, but came apart down the stretch, falling to SA 12-9. They went toe-to-toe with the defending state champs, but were unable to close them out.
"Last year was stepping stone for us," said Holly. "And [the team] understood we let something slip away and we let the wheels come off [against St. Andrew's]."
Boca Raton hasn't let any games slip away since.
In the season opener, the Bobcats faced a stiff test right off the bat. Boca Raton traveled to Jacksonville to square off against Northern Florida power Ponte Vedra, fresh off a Final Four appearance.
The Bobcats battled down to the wire yet again with another top opponent, but this time the final whistle was met with jubilation, as the Bobcats topped PV 9-8 in Double Overtime.
"It gave us a ton of confidence," Holly said. "Going into that was an unknown factor of whether Boca Raton is good. We found out in the first quarter, that we could run with them and play with them."
That led to Tuesday night.
Once again, the Bobcats held a 4th quarter lead against SA, but this time the Bobcats finished the job.
"It was a joy," Holly said. "They find ways to win and they scrap for every ground ball. When they face the adversity, they scrap harder."
The Bobcats' defensive unit was a specific highlight, with base defenders Harrison Rodormer, Jordan Aman and Cole Garner shutting down SA's attack. First-year starting goalie Matt Digney played like a seasoned veteran, coming up with 20 saves in the victory. Throw in offensive standouts Nick McCabe, Ryan Clinton and Parker Giarratana, and you can see why this team is unbeaten.
With its two marquee wins and now-proven ability to close out top opponents, Boca Raton no longer finds itself as an underdog in the state title race, but rather as a favorite.
Despite the two wins though, Holly knows it's a long season and won't let the success go to his team's head.
"It's one day at a time. We can't be complacent with what we have. We celebrated after the win, but [Wednesday's] practice was right back to business."