Lax.com Rising HS Games of the Week: Feb. 27 to Mar. 5
By 3d Rising Staff
Some of the elite programs across the country get into the swing of things in this week’s edition of the Lax.com Rising High School Games of the Week. From the West Coast to the East Coast, there are teams facing off that expect to compete for titles in 2017. Potential playoff previews abound in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina, including a rematch of last year’s state championship.
And in NorCal, an early season heavy-weight showdown is already upon us, while in Texas, one of the state’s top THSLL Division I teams will get one of its first tests of the year.
Be sure to follow Lax.com and 3d Rising throughout the spring for updates and action from fields all over the country.
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St. Ignatius Prep (NorCal) at Monte Vista-Danville (NorCal), Feb. 28
Monte Vista won this meeting last season, en route to a 22 game win streak the Mustangs have extended to 24 games thanks to a 13-5 victory over Campolindo and a 9-5 win over Marin Catholic to begin the year. St. Ignatius is expected to be even more improved this season, led by two nationally recognized players: Bryn Evans (Harvard) and Hall Peters (Virginia). St. Ignatius started the year with a dominating 16-4 win against San Ramon Valley on Feb. 25 that showcased the team’s depth.
Lambert (Ga.) at Centennial (Ga.), Feb. 28
This marks a meeting of the defending Class 6A champion and the team that is a preseason favorite to win it in 2017. Lambert has shown no signs of slowing down, extending its winning streak to 24 games. The Longhorns have yet to allow more than three goals in a game this season, but this contest marks the first opponent they have faced with a winning record. This is also the third-straight road game for the Longhorns. Centennial faces an early test with the Longhorns, a game the Knights lost 11-6 last season. Led by junior Nicky Solomon (UNC), who had 12 points in the first game of the year, Centennial was picked by local reporters as the favorite for the 6A title this season.
Torrey Pines (SoCal) at Cathedral Catholic (SoCal), March 3
Torrey Pines head coach Jono Zissi has been sitting at 99 career wins since defeating Cathedral Catholic on May 18 last season. A one-goal loss to Poway in the San Diego CIF Open championship made him wait 10 months for his second shot to reach the 100-win milestone at Torrey Pines. The Falcons defeated Cathedral Catholic twice last season and are one of the SoCal teams loaded this season. Anchored by defenseman Evan Egan (UNC), Jonathan Ford (Notre Dame), Caden Wolfson (Air Force) and Marco Napolitano (Lafayette), the Falcons will be tough to score on this season.
IMG Academy (Fla.) at Ponte Vedra (Fla.), March 4
This has game-of-the-year potential as this pair of thus-far undefeated Sunshine State teams meet. Ponte Vedra is the favorite to win the FHSAA title this year, but IMG has already defeated Lake Highland Prep (Fla.) and Oxbridge Academy (Fla.) this season – both major in-state victories. The Ascenders’ game against the Sharks is their fourth-straight road game and comes one day after facing St. Andrew’s (Fla.). Ponte Vedra, led by Reid Smith (23 goals) and Matthew Keeler (25 points), has been rolling. The Sharks have to get through Creekside (Fla.) and Nease (Fla.) before facing IMG.
Lake Norman (N.C.) at Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.), March 4
This is a rematch of the Class 4A state title game last year that Cardinal Gibbons won 14-8. Gibbons seeks its fourth consecutive state title and second straight Class 4A championship. The Crusaders have won 12 straight games entering the season, but they have to get through Northern Durham (N.C.) to extend that streak before Lake Norman. The Wildcats start their season hosting Charlotte Country Day (N.C.), a team that went 19-6 last season. Gibbons returns 23 varsity players, including attackman Kevin Barry who scored 35 goals last season. Goalie Wesley Wagner returns after making 102 saves last season.
Southlake (Texas) at Highland Park (Texas), March 4
Highland Park returns as stacked as any team in the Texas THSLL Division I landscape, and the Scots began their run at the state title this year with a convincing 12-3 win over a tough and talented Westlake team out of the Austin area – a squad that then lost to reigning Division I champion only 5-4 in its next outing. Syracuse-bound senior attackman Owen Seebold leads the way offensively for the Scots after putting up 73 points last season. Southlake kicked off the year with a 12-1 victory over Division II power McKinney and is more than familiar with their in-conference rival’s personnel. Furman-bound Casey Wasserman is one of Southlake’s standouts to watch this season.
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