Boys' Lacrosse Weekend Preview: Feb. 25-26

It comes as no surprise that Saturday's interstate battle between Greenville (SC) and Ponte Vedra (FL) has the attention of lacrosse fans all across the Southeast. In addition to featuring a wide array of talent, from athletic Greenville attacker Zack Poplin to versatile Ponte Vedra midfielder Mike Power, the early season battle pits two balanced and experienced squads likely to make championship runs in their respective states.

Greenville is riding high off of its fifth straight South Carolina state championship in 2010. Spearheaded by Poplin and senior defender Adam Lorenzen, the Red Raiders return eight starters this season and feature arguably their most challenging schedule in team history, which includes tilts against Providence Day (NC) and Birmingham-Hoover (AL). However, Saturday's contest could prove to be their most daunting of all.

Ponte Vedra is breathing fire in 2011 after being dispatched by Bolles last season in the District 2 title game. The Sharks, who had defeated Bolles 14-6 earlier in the season, were undefeated up until that district title contest. Ponte Vedra returns All-Americans Derrick Miller and Power, along with St. Andrew's transfer Brendan Francis, and will be a force to be reckoned with.

"Greenville is an extremely athletic and well-coached team," Ponte Vedra coach Jimmy Oliver said. "They are a flat-out good lacrosse team. Last year, we beat them 14-7, and I remember both teams running up and down the lacrosse field quite a bit. We're looking forward to the challenge. It should be a great early season test."

For Ponte Vedra, Saturday's matinee matchup against Greenville won't be their only test. The Sharks have a tune-up contest against Lake Highland Prep for their season opener on Friday. Lake Highland Prep is the defending state runner-up and fell to St. Andrew's in the 2010 title game.

"We want to play as many quality teams as our schedule permits, and this is a great opportunity to do so," Oliver said. "As a team, our goal is to win as many games as possible, then hopefully play in final four weekend and have a shot at taking the crown."

Meanwhile, Lake Highland Prep also opens up with back-to-back matchups against quality opponents. In addition to Friday's game against Ponte Vedra, the Highlanders will take on defending District 2 champion Bolles on Saturday in a contest between 2010 state tournament qualifiers.

Elsewhere, Oviedo takes on West Orange in more Florida action, Lambert faces Northview in a battle of Georgia powers, Austin faces Episcopal Dallas in Texas action, and perennial power Highland Park looks to get the season off on a high note against Strake Jesuit.



To contact staff writer Adam Warner, send an e-mail to adam@laxpower.com.

2011-02-24



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