JACKSONVILLE – Fleming Island’s boy lacrosse team rallied from a three-goal halftime deficit to top Nease 11-8 in the Moe’s Classic at Jacksonville University’s D.B. Milne Field Saturday, a …
JACKSONVILLE – Fleming Island’s boy lacrosse team rallied from a three-goal halftime deficit to top Nease 11-8 in the Moe’s Classic at Jacksonville University’s D.B. Milne Field Saturday, a promising start to the 2019 season.
With only four of 10 starters from 2018 returning, fourth-year head coach John Hawley was concerned about the Golden Eagles’ ability to handle the pressure put on by Nease and the other defenses in FHSAA District 6, traditionally one of the toughest districts in Florida. It turned out his concerns were well founded, as Fleming Island committed 12 turnovers in the first half against the Panthers.
“We did not have a scrimmage game before this game, and the guys were tight,” said Hawley. “You could see the nerves.”
Nease took a 3-2 lead as the first quarter clock expired on a long range shot by middie Reilly Mickey. By halftime, the Panthers had extended the lead to 5-2.
The Golden Eagles roared back with five unanswered goals in the third period, including two by Notre Dame commitment Eric Dobson and another by Schreiber. The streak reached eight before Nease’s Zach Hunt converted a man-up opportunity with a drive from the top of the box, ending a 14-minute scoring drought for the Panthers.
Hawley attributed the comeback to better execution of the fundamentals.
“Max did a good job on offense and defense,” said Hawley. “On offense, he was able to get separation from his man almost every time.”
Long stick middie Declan Bertolini, a senior, played sticky defense on the Nease midfielders and tied Michaels for the team high with four ground balls.
“Declan did an excellent job,” said Hawley. “He had a lot of takeaways, and was our rock on defense.”
With the lack of experience on the back line, Hawley is counting on goaltender Korbin Hamilton, a senior, to provide leadership and steady play. Hamilton had 12 saves on Saturday for a sterling .600 save percentage.
“Korbin is able to direct the defense, and he is very calm,” said Hawley. “He had some beautiful passes on the clears today.”
Those passes led to fast break opportunities for the Golden Eagles, who scored four of their goals on fast breaks.
“That’s our style of play,” said Hawley. “We work 80 percent of the time in practice on transition, and only 20 percent on set offense.”
Attack Daniel Horrell had two goals and Matt Welsh and sophomore Shafer Clark added one apiece for Fleming Island to complement the hat tricks from Schreiber and Dobson. Sophomore Sean Hawley, the head coach’s son, had two assists.
Nease had handed the Golden Eagles two of their three losses last year, so the win exacted a measure of revenge. The game was a district game, giving the Golden Eagles an early leg up towards being one of the four teams that qualifies for the playoffs.