FLEMING ISLAND - Host Fleming Island High School swept a girls-boys doubleheader against Ocala Forest Friday night, with the girls taming the Wildcats 11-3 and the boys clobbering their counterparts …
FLEMING ISLAND - Host Fleming Island High School swept a girls-boys doubleheader against Ocala Forest Friday night, with the girls taming the Wildcats 11-3 and the boys clobbering their counterparts 19-1.
In the girls’ game, senior Kierra Marquis scored six goals, scooped four ground balls, made four steals and won seven of 11 faceoffs to lead the Golden Eagles, who return seven of 10 starters from last year’s 9-7 squad.
“Not only does she score, but she wins ground balls and the draws,” Fleming Island coach Clint Lyons said of Marquis. “If we do not have her, it is a different game.”
Marquis, who plays mostly midfielder but spends some time at attack, scored three goals in the first ten minutes as Fleming Island shot to a 6-0 halftime lead. She also scored the game’s most critical goal, snaring a rebound and sending it back between the posts just after Forest had threatened to make it a contest by scoring two consecutive goals to open the second half. Marquis’ rebound ignited a string of five straight Golden Eagles goals that put the game out of reach.
Lyons considers his first midfield line of Marquis, Lindsey Knight and the speedy Karina Ortiz as the strength of his team. Ortiz, a junior, notched one goal Friday and led all players with five ground balls.
Katie Nichols will start for the second consecutive year at attack, and Lyons is counting on her and freshman Lexi Jordan, a natural athlete who scored a goal Friday, to pick up more of the scoring load shouldered by Marquis. Knight will also occasionally play attack.
On defense, starters Bryanna Sarmento and Lacey Hawkinson return, and Lyons is hoping that a dependable defender emerges among the trio of Sarah Hines, Colbi Thykadavil and Cameron LaBelle.
Starting goaltender Patricia Volz returns, though freshman Megan Wickes played the entire game Friday, notching three saves on a night when the Golden Eagles defense made things easy for her. Fleming Island outshot the Wildcats 26-6.
The girls have once again been placed in North Florida’s most competitive district along with Ponte Vedra, Bartram Trail, Creekside and Nease. Lyons believes that getting ground balls and being consistent in their passing and catching are critical if Fleming Island is to make any noise in the district.
“We got most of the ground balls tonight, but we were not as efficient on offense as we could be,” said Lyons.
Fleming Island improved to 2-2, while the Wildcats, who got two goals from middie Meleah Norris, fell to 0-3.
The boys’ rout over the Wildcats was led by Patrick Schreiber and Eric Dobson. Schreiber, a senior who led Fleming Island in points in each of the last two seasons, scored five goals and had two assists, while Dobson scored four goals and had four assists.
Head coach John Hawley lauded Schreiber’s ability to score from a variety of angles, but believes that Dobson, a sophomore, may have surpassed him.
“Eric Dobson is dominant,” said Hawley. “He is the best all-around lacrosse player we have, at least offensively.”
Daniel Horrell, Andrew Schreiber and freshman Clark Schaeffer all had multiple goals for the Golden Eagles, who evened their record at 2-2.
The scoring chances were plentiful because Max Michaels and Declan Bertolini dominated the faceoffs, combining to gain possession on 18 of 21 ball drops.
Hawley credits the work of assistant coach Chip Lonsdale, who was a faceoff specialist at Notre Dame, for the pair’s development.
“Michaels is a dual sport guy, and some of his football physical toughness comes to the fore,” said Hawley. “But Declan has come in for extra work before practice and pushed Max, and that has made Max improve.”
Bertolini was a perfect 10 for 10 on faceoffs Friday.
As much as Patrick Schreiber, Dobson and the rest of the offense filled the stat sheet Friday, Hawley believes the Golden Eagles’ defense will be the team’s strength this year. Justin Szafranski, Alec Goria, Addison DeAbreu-Reese and Zane Phillips, the four players who manned the three defense spots and the long-stick middie position in 2017, return for their fourth year. The seniors smothered Forest on Friday, allowing just twelve shots in the game, and only two in the second half.
“They are athletic, they are physical, they are keeping guys close to them,” said Hawley. Korbin Hamilton returns at goalie, and Hawley has high hopes for the junior.
“Korbin has developed nicely and is great in the goal,” said Hawley. “We are still working on some of the out-of-the-goal strategy.”
Like the girls, the Golden Eagles boys face a district gauntlet of regional powers Ponte Vedra, Bartram Trail, Creekside and Nease.
Only the top four get a chance to play for the district title, leaving the Golden Eagles little room for error after suffering losses to Ponte Vedra and Nease in the season’s first two weeks. Fleming Island travels to Creekside for a district game on Thursday, March 8.