Team Spotlight: Saint Andrews School Scots (FL)

You might think seven-time defending state champion Saint Andrews Schoolwould have a certain style of play year after year, a blue print to winning titles. Coming into 2010 however, the Scots may face an identity change.

Last year's team set the bar for the state of Florida, posting an unprecedented 24-0 record. The Scots outscored their opponents 472-94 and captured the program's 17th state championship.

"The measuring stick is high; it's tough to sustain that level," said head coach Jeff Goldberg, who is still trying to figure out how to maintain Saint Andrews' success.

The middies were the driving force of the team last season. Lee Coppersmith, Michael Lipin, and Shane McHugh all found homes in Division I (at Johns Hopkins, Yale, and Brown). These three initiated much of the offense, but with a new crop of midfielders, Goldberg isn't sure what approach to take.

"Our attack is strong, but we are a little inexperienced at midfield," Goldberg said. "I'm not sure if we are going to run and gun or go through the attack; we are still trying to find our identity."

The Scots midfield will be led by Tyler Knight. Knight is headed to the University of Massachusetts next year, and Goldberg said he is "making huge strides" this season. Sophomore Max Susskind and senior Ryan Becker will look to step into bigger roles.

The attack returns a pair of high scorers in Matt Bellando and Will Diamond. The two combined for 239 points last year. Goldberg really likes what he has seen from freshman Conor Whipple. (Whipple's father Rory coaches at Florida Southern.)

The defense might be the backbone of this year's squad. Notre Dame signee Michael Sheperdson heads the group, while Goldberg described LSM Jordan Leake as a "freak athlete." Goalie is an area of concern, as Goldberg tries to replace current Dartmouth goalie Bernie Susskind.

The new group of Scots will be thrown into the fire with a 2010 schedule that features some of the top teams in the country. March 13th sees Boys' Latin coming to town. In the following weeks, Saint Andrews will face Fort Collins, Brunswick School, and Kent Denver.

"I wish we could have had this schedule last year," Goldberg said, "but we are just trying to get better as a team. We love the challenge and we can only get better from games like these."

In search of a clear team identity, the Scots are off to a 6-0 start, averaging 20 goals a game. Even though they have found early success, Goldberg still knows there is work to do.

"We will be searching for our identity for the next three to four games. The big question is, how do we get better?"

What role changes the Scots make will remain to be seen. However, one identity the Scots would like to keep is that of state champion.

2010-02-25



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