Florida High School Lacrosse Playoff Preview

Tournament Dark Horse: Pine Crest

Pine Crest (12-3) has now won six games in a row and has shown the ability to win with its offense and defense this season. The Panthers could meet St. Andrew's for an intriguing second round playoff match should they post wins over Saint Thomas Aquinas and Gulliver Prep. Keep in mind that Pine Crest beat Gulliver Prep, 16-3, on April 15. But first, the Panthers must figure out how to defeat their District 14 rival in order to move on. While the Panthers fell to St. Andrew's by the score of 12-2 back on March 21, the squad is chomping at the bit to get another shot at the defending champs. Midfielder Jacob Werman has been a force at the face-off X for Pine Crest all season and could play a pivotal role in his team making a tournament run this year.

FHSAA Girls' Lacrosse

Best District Title Match-up: Lake Highland Prep vs. Winter Park

This District 7 showdown on Thursday features two evenly matched teams going head-to-head. Lake Highland Prep (9-8), while inconsistent, has shown the ability to beat solid teams like Winter Springs this year. The Highlanders also downed Winter Park, 13-10, back on March 4. However, the Wildcats have won 9 of their last 10 games, scoring 12 goals or more in each of those victories. If Winter Park can solve the Lake Highland defense, they will likely come away victorious this time around. Standouts Taylor and Tyler Thomas will likely need to step up big for the Highlanders in order to come away with the District 7 crown on Thursday.

Easiest Road to the Semifinals: Vero Beach

Currently ranked No. 11 in the nation by LaxPower, Vero Beach (18-0) should waltz against Jensen Beach in the District 9 final before potentially facing Benjamin School or Jupiter in the first round, two teams currently ranked outside of Florida's top 25. A win there would then set up a second round match-up against FHSAA newcomer Barron Collier for a trip to the state semifinals. Keep in mind, the closest any Florida school has come to beating Vero Beach has been an 11-goal difference when Lake Brantley fell to the Indians 17-6 on April 2. Lake Brantley is also the second-ranked team in the state.

Upset Alert: Oviedo Over Winter Springs in District 4 Final

When these two squads last got together back on March 16, Winter Springs (15-4) held on for a 12-11 victory in a thriller. Since that loss, Oviedo (15-4) has won 9 of 10 games and scored 12 goals or more in each of those wins. Meanwhile, after a 2-3 start, Winter Springs has won 12 of its last 13 games. Both teams are hot at the right time, which should make for quite an entertaining District final.

Toughest Road Ahead: Lake Brantley

Last season's state runner-up could face Lake Mary in the District 5 title game, Bishop Moore in the First Round, and then possibly Lake Highland Prep or Winter Park in the Second Round just to get the chance to face juggernaut Vero Beach in the semifinals. Behind seniors Katie Trahanas and Kaleigh Henry, Lake Brantley (14-2) is one of the state's most talented teams. However, the Patriots will need a consistent performance over the next few weeks to reach the Final Four this season.

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2011-04-21



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