Boys' Lacrosse Weekend Preview - March 4-5

Austin, St. Andrew's Headline Highly Anticipated Games This Weekend

Austin (TX) boys' lacrosse coach Andy Garrigan knows that two wins this weekend could change everything for his team.

After his squad dispatched three-time state champion Episcopal Dallas last Saturday, 9-8 in OT, many lacrosse fans across the region were left wondering whether Austin could be a title contender in 2011.

For years, teams from the Central Division like Austin were generally considered non-contenders, never likely to pose a threat to traditional giants like Episcopal Dallas or Dallas Jesuit. However, should Garrigan's squad pull off upcoming wins against St. Mark's and Highland Park this weekend, there will be little doubt that the Maroons may be the team to beat in Texas boys' lacrosse this season.

"Everyone is watching us now to see if we can pull off two more wins this weekend," said Garrigan, whose squad fell to both St. Mark's and Highland Park by the score of 6-4 last season. "It's going to be two hard-fought games this weekend, and I expect that they'll be close. The guys realize they can play with these teams. They may have been too deep in previous years, but not anymore. We finally feel we have caught up as a program."

The Maroons (5-0) face St. Mark's (4-0) on Friday night in the first of two tough weekend match-ups. St. Mark's reached the state title game last season before falling to Highland Park, 6-4. Then on Saturday, Austin takes on a formidable Highland Park program. The Fighting Scots (1-1) are looking to bounce back from a tough opening season loss to The Woodlands.

Austin will look for major production from attackers Mitch Reeder, Billy Bedillion and Casey Schwertfeger, plus contributions from veterans Spence Howden and John Swingler at midfield.

Meanwhile, Lake Highland Prep (FL) has a big opportunity to take down a lacrosse giant when the team faces St. Andrew's on Friday. With a senior-laden roster equipped with postseason experience and skilled players like Will Rotatori (Princeton) and Warren Berenis (Washington & Lee), Lake Highland may have its best chance ever to take down the Scots, who are coming off their eighth-straight state championship in 2010.

"We've seen them enough and they have beaten us enough over the years, and our guys are ready for it to be their time," said Lake Highland Prep coach Chris Spaulding, whose team fell to the Scots three separate times in 2010, including the state title game. "The guys are hungry, rejuvenated and ready to play. We have a lot of seniors tired of losing to St. Andrew's. They want to win and they won't back down."

Fresh off impressive wins against Bolles and Ponte Vedra last week, the Highlanders (4-0) enter Friday's contest against St. Andrew's with momentum and big-game experience already. While it will take more than just momentum to knock off the defending champs, Spaulding believes his team is now ready to take on the role of favorites in Florida boys' lacrosse.

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