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MX News Update 2024

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Famous final four matchups for the FHSAA lacrosse state tournament

The 2024 FHSAA girls and boys lacrosse semifinals will look a lot like the 2023 version.

And when it comes to the Class 1A girls final four, it also looks a lot like 2022, 2021, 2019 and 2018.

Three Orlando-area teams return to Naples, including the reigning Orlando Sentinel Players of the Year, and they could face familiar foes.

Lake Highland Prep girls are in their sixth straight semifinal, and playoff foe American Heritage-Delray Beach has joined the Highlanders all six times.

The No. 2 seed Highlanders (19-3) will face No. 3 St. Stephens (18-1) of Bradenton in the Class 1A semifinals on Friday at noon, followed by No. 1 American Heritage (20- 1) vs. No. 4 Episcopal (13-7) of Jacksonville.

If Lake Highland and the Stallions both win, they will play each other Saturday at noon, as they have for the previous five state tournaments.

“We lost to them in the finals last year, we beat them in ’22, they beat us in ’21, there was no tournament because of COVID in 2020, and we beat them in the semis in 2019,” said LHP coach Chris Robinson. remembered.

This week’s FHSAA finals won’t be the only time top players from both teams will see each other.

“The players know each other very well. They play club against each other in the offseason and also play together on some all-star teams,” Robinson said. “And as coaches we also know each other well. It really comes down to execution and who can do it better.”

The teams actually began the series of showdowns in 2018 when Heritage won a semifinal against LHP en route to the title.

The Highlanders are back with a balanced attack led by reigning Sentinel Player of the Year Izzy Hughes. Four players have scored more than the senior’s 23 goals, but she has won 63% of her draws for an average of almost seven wins per match.

Robinson said Hughes is “our leader” and added, “We have a lot of girls that play well on offense.”

That includes Lake Mary transfer Savannah Love, “a great addition” who has 33 goals and 12 assists.

Lake Mary dominates St. Thomas Aquinas to capture first FHSAA boys lacrosse state championship

Boys are back

Defending state champion Lake Mary and Winter Park are in separate Class 2A semifinals like last year, but their opponents are reversed.

In 2023, the Rams were undefeated winners after topping Fort Lauderdale’s Tampa Plant and St. Thomas Aquinas, which ousted Winter Park in a semifinal.

On Friday, No. 1 seed Lake Mary (22-1) faces No. 4 Aquinas (12-8) at 7:30 p.m., while No. 3 Winter Park (13-6) faces second seed Plant (18-3). at 5. Saturday’s championship game is at 7:30 p.m.

Two years ago, the Rams and Wildcats faced off in the state semifinals, with Winter Park winning before falling to Jupiter in the finals. This is the fourth consecutive final four appearance for the Wildcats.

Lake Mary senior Caden Harshbarger was area player of the year in 2023. He had another great season with 50 goals and 27 assists, and was selected to play in the Under Armor All-American game.

“Caden is a great distraction because other teams are overplaying for him, and that’s a mistake,” Rams coach Gary Robinson said.

But the question is whether Harshbarger is the Rams’ best player, as senior Matthew Shannon is a talented captain on defense.

“He’s the best defenseman in Florida,” said Gary Robinson, who admits he’s biased before offering compelling evidence from Lake Mary’s stacked schedule.

“(Shannon) literally took out the best player on every team,” he said. “He closed out Notre Dame with Dylan Faison from St. Andrew’s (No. 1 in 1A), and the best players from the South Carolina state champion (Lucy Beckham High School), one of the top teams from North Carolina (Lake Norman) , the number two team in the state of Georgia (Lambert) and the number 1 team in New Jersey (Seton Hall Prep).”

The defensive effort against Faison came in the Rams’ only loss over the last two seasons (10-9 on March 15), with the St. Andrew’s sophomore not scoring any goals despite averaging 4.2 per game.

Winter Park also brings a balanced attack with four players scoring at least 23 goals. All four are underclassmen, led by sophomore Chase Truesdell, who has 33 goals.

State champion Lake Mary leads the boys lacrosse All-Area honor roll

You can contact Varsity content editor Buddy Collings by email at [email protected].