LAKE MARY - After 11 straight wins, a first-ever district championship, and a 12-7 win over Ocala Forest a week prior that moved the team from the State Regional Semi-Final to the Regional Final, the …
LAKE MARY - After 11 straight wins, a first-ever district championship, and a 12-7 win over Ocala Forest a week prior that moved the team from the State Regional Semi-Final to the Regional Final, the 19th-ranked Fleming Island Golden Eagles traveled to Central Florida to take on the number four ranked team in the state, the Lake Mary Rams. The Rams, riding a single loss season, came in with a few advantages which Fleming Island would have to overcome, such as a huge home team support, an uber-fast team and the one that was a difference maker; a turf-grass field that played tricks with the ball when shot off the turf and rubber surface.
“I had a rough practice yesterday and I needed to come in with more confidence,” said Fleming Island sophomore Goalie Paul Walter. “When the ball was spinning (from side-arm shots) and bouncing, it changed directions and it took the whole first quarter to adjust to it. I got more confident in the third and fourth quarter.”
Even with Walter’s seven saves and the Golden Eagle offensive onslaught of 25 shots on the Lake Mary goal, Fleming Island just could not match the speed of the Rams as the 2021 dream season came to an end, 14-4.
“They were faster than we are used to seeing and they were really accurate,” said Walter.
Fleming Island coach John Hawley, who also was without key players due to injuries, knew his task was uphill.
“They are great shooters,” said Hawley. “Very accurate and we couldn’t get enough pressure on their hands. It is something we’ll work on in the future. That will affect their accuracy. We also need to go out and approach quicker, and learn to not go too quick or they will just hitch and dodge around us. Tonight, was just a tough matchup and we knew that going in.”
The Rams were on the board in 37 seconds, but Fleming Island is used to a quick score against them and kept at it. It took several minutes for Lake Mary to score again. At the end of the first quarter, it was 4-0. In the second quarter, Will Krupsky finally showed the way to break through as Fleming Island was on the board at 4:26, the only score in the first half, 8-1.
The tiny victory the Golden Eagles had was the third quarter, where Lake Mary statistically has its worst outcomes. Fleming Island tied the third quarter, with each team scoring three goals.
“The third quarter went our way,” said Hawley. “We played well and possessed the ball. If we could play all four quarters that way, we would have been more competitive with them. Lacrosse is the fastest game on two feet. Lake Mary plays it that way. You learn from your losses, that’s for sure.”
Fleming Island will graduate 20 Seniors, but still have scoring weapons in Krupsky and a defense led by Walters.
“I just have to play on a good team over the summer, practicing, and continue to get better every day, as much as I can,” said Walter.