FLEMING ISLAND - The Class 2A Regional Semi-Final hosted at Fleming Island did not get off to a raving start as the visiting Ocala Forest Wildcats won the opening faceoff, drove the net and beat …
FLEMING ISLAND - The Class 2A Regional Semi-Final hosted at Fleming Island did not get off to a raving start as the visiting Ocala Forest Wildcats won the opening faceoff, drove the net and beat Goalie Paul Walter in just 19 seconds.
The proverbial ice water down the back was all the home team Golden Eagles needed for some self-motivation as Fleming Island went on a tear. “Our offense played well, played with poise” said Fleming Island Head Coach John Hawley, now in his 10th season with the team. “We wanted to play fast in transition” and fast it was as the Wildcats got rocked back on their heels as the Golden Eagles quickly recovered from the snap goal and scored three times in less than three minutes, getting out front 3-1 at the end of the first quarter.
The Golden Eagles would have sophomore Will Krupsky go his second game in a row with a double hat trick, notching six goals on the evening. “They were giving me my left hand all night” said Krupsky, during a post-game cookie celebration. “I’m predominant on my right hand, but shoot equally well lefty. When they gave me my right side, I kept hitting the ground shots, or went up top.”
It was like watching a marksman call his target and hit it every time. Twice Krupsky went low on the Wildcat Goalie, but instead of a high-powered blast, he simply slow-rolled the ball past the Goalie, who was looking for a speed shot and was way out in front of the ball.
“In those scenarios, I just shoot by instinct,” said Krupsky. “Honestly, I just shoot and hope for the best.”
One of Krupsy’s off net shots that electrified the crowd happened as he came from the goalie’s top left side and was double teamed by defenders. As he crossed in front of the net and seemed to pass a shot opportunity, he whipped the ball behind his head, and it went wide.
“I should have kept it simple and passed the ball to one of my open guys,” Krupsky said.
With the high-power offense backed by the ground ball-hog defense snagging up 37 balls, topped with Paul Walter’s eight saves, the Golden Eagles stayed perfect over their now last 11 games with the 12-7 victory.
With the 3-1 first quarter lead, Krupsky went unassisted at 9:19 from a broken Wildcat play.
As the fresh mid-fielders entered the field, the defense transitioned the ball like lightening, getting Krupsky the ball. He went straight to the net and fired for the score, 4-1.
Shaffer Clark bagged a hat trick of his own with one each in the first three quarters. Zack Lesrtange added a pair of goals to the heap with one each in the first and third quarter. With just over a minute to play, while just trying to work the ball around and kill off the clock, Alex Bergin found himself all alone, looking at nothing but the Goalie as Forest was changing up players. The open lane shot found its way home to finish the scoring. The Golden Eagle’s only had two penalties on the game, both :30 second hold calls which the defense worked masterfully, and notched two of Walter’s saves.
Next up are the Lake Mary Rams for the Class 2A Regional Final. The Rams are MaxPreps ninth ranked in the US, and fourth-ranked in the state. Fleming Island lines up ranked at 25th in Florida.
“We’ll need a ton of possession and a world-class night of defense” said Hawley. Krupsky said his focus this week will be “working on off- ball movement, cutting off the ball, forcing slides, and drawing defenders to a double team to allow someone else to get open.”