Jack Schifino is a Brick Wall in Net for Plant Boys
The fourth year of varsity lacrosse was highly encouraging across Hillsborough County, as the game continues to grow and local programs continue to prove they have the skill to play with programs across the state.
Thank you to our 600 student-athletes for an incredible year, and a special congratulations for our All-Western Conference Selections for the 2017 season. These players and coaches exemplified All-Star status and significantly impacted the performance of their teams throughout the season.
Western Conference Boys First Team Selection
Goalie: Jack Schifino (Plant, Jr.)
Defense: Christian Avalos (Newsome, Sr.), Eagan Baber (Plant, Sr.), Christopher Zito (Sickles, Sr.)
Midfielders: Cole Jackson (Newsome, Jr.), Michael Ciccarello (Sickles, Jr.), Collin Payton (Freedom, Sr.)
Plant High School and Newsome High School are no strangers to lacrosse success, as the ladies faced off on South Himes Avenue Tuesday night for a highly anticipated state regional semi-final. In a game many believed would come down to the wire, the Newsome Lady Wolves raced out to an early lead and handed the Lady Panthers a rare loss with a 14-8 final.
The Lady Panthers continued their steady success and head coach Jayne Chapman will certainly have her team highly competitive again next season, but this was truly a breakout game for the Newsome program. Not only does this mark their first ever win against Plant, but also sets them up against I-4 powerhouse Bishop Moore in the tourament's next round. With a match-up against one of the state's top programs, there will be heavy anticipation around Newsome's first trip to the Elite 8 of the FHSAA Lacrosse State Playoffs.
The Lady Wolves will host Bishop Moore at 7:00 p.m. on Friday April 21, 2017 at home in Lithia.
Newsome also had a big night on the boys side, but the Wolves were unable to overcome a deeply talented Berkeley Prep squad, losing to the host 13-8. Despite going into the game with a perfect 16-0 record on the season, Newsome was unable to establish themselves, falling behind 9-6 at half time and playing catch-up for the majority of the game. This was an absolutely incredible season for a Newsome program that lost 12 players from a season ago, and a team that will continue to compete at the highest level for years to come.
Best of luck to Berkeley Prep as they travel to take on a difficult out-of-county test against Lake Highland Prep on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. in the Elite 8 of the boys bracket.
Congratulations to Newsome & Steinbrenner programs for the incredible acheivement of winning both boys & girls district titles. The Wolves secured the 14th district, while Steinbrenner earned two close wins against Sickles in each District 16 final.
The Plant High Lady Panthers program continues to set a high standard of excellence, winning yet another District 15 championship. Berkeley Prep took down Plant in the District 15 boys final, leading us to our first round state playoff match ups.
District 14: Girls - Newsome / Boys - Newsome
District 15: Girls - Plant / Boys - Berkeley Prep
District 16: Girls - Steinbrenner / Boys - Steinbrenner
The FHSAA Lacrosse State Championship will feature each district champion, including a District 15 vs. District 16 showdown for both boys and girls. All games are this Thursday April 13, 2017.
FHSAA Lacrosse State Championship First-Round Play-In Games - Thursday, April 13, 2017
Plant @ Steinbrenner - 5:00 PM
Celebration @ Newsome 6:00 PM
Berkeley Prep @ Steinbrenner - 7:00 PM
Lakeland @ Newsome 8:00 PM
Best of luck to all teams and please come out and support at either Steinbrenner or Newsome on Thursday!
Crawling, walking and running: usually this is a cycle associated with maturing infants, but today we are going to apply the phrase to a high school lacrosse program. Bloomingdale lacrosse is considered young even by HALAX standards, as the program has played two full seasons at the varsity level, with many players never having even stepped onto a lacrosse field prior to spring tryouts.
Now that the foundation has been laid, new boy’s head coach Matthew Borowski is preparing to take the Bulls from the crawling stage to putting the pieces together for a winning program that can eventually run alongside any opponent in Hillsborough County.
After growing up in the highly competitive New Jersey high school lacrosse hotbed, as well as playing at the club level at University of Rhode Island, Coach Borowski is ready to teach the game to high level athletes that simply have never thought about picking up a lacrosse stick.
“I just want to teach and grow the game the right way. I know we have guys that are focused on looking to improve. I commend the upperclassmen for their work this offseason, as I contacted a friend from Rhode Island who runs a fitness studio, and the kids have been strict to the conditioning program.”
One senior who has really stepped up is Evan Knapp, who can be expected to create opportunities across the field. Although he lines up as an attacker, Knapp is an exceptional athlete that can cover midfielders as they transition down the field and his tenacious play will set the tone for his teammates this season.
Things will not be easy for opponents facing Bloomingdale’s defense, as Paul Dobler and Sam Skinner are two big bodies that will be sure to be as physical as any defense in Hillsborough County. Discipline will be necessary for this tandem as they learn how to operate alongside many newly experienced players in Valrico.
“It is tough breaking down some of the barriers, but the sport is growing in the area,” says Borowski. “It’s small but growing, and you can see that there are more guys coming out for each information meeting. Now, we need guys that continue to play in summer and fall ball, and coaches that are dedicated to the same end goal as the players.”
It is amazing to think what can happen as the sport of lacrosse continues to grow across Hillsborough County and the western Florida region, when players can be groomed from a young age to play year round and compete with anyone in the nation.
“It’s a challenge, but we want to grow the right way and create a culture.”
One day, these Bulls will run.
HALAX will be issuing team previews for each boys and girls team playing varsity lacrosse in Hillsborough County leading up to the start of the season in January. Please follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/halaxinfo), Twitter (@halaxinfo), and our organization’s website (halax.org) to stay up to date on everything lacrosse in Hillsborough County.