Despite a tough loss in the state title, Bishop Moore’s boys lacrosse program has a lot to look forward to in the years to come.
On Saturday night, Bishop Moore did what they had done all season — they left every ounce of themselves on the field.
Unfortunately, they came up just short of that ever-elusive state title in a 11-8 loss to Jupiter (21-2, 5-0) in a game that everyone thought it would be — two state powers bashing heads over the chance to be named champion.
Both schools had come off solid wins the day before in the semifinals — with the Hornets sneaking by Ponte Vedra in an 8-6 win.
“We’re both fighting for the same thing,” head coach Reed Reynolds said. “There’s 50 kids left, and of the 200 teams, you’ve got two teams — both Jupiter and ourselves are very strong teams, obviously.”
After trailing through the first quarter, the Hornets (19-3, 6-0) rallied in the second to go into the half knotted at 4-4. Two of the Hornets’ best scoring machines — junior Jake Kiefer and sophomore R.J. Sanfilippo — notched two goals apiece to keep things close.
Despite a goal from junior Jackson Canfield gave the Hornets a 5-4 edge, the lead only lasted a minute before the Warriors tied it before going on a 7-3 run to claim the state title.
Although their hopes of bringing back a state title to College Park were dashed, the opportunity to take his guys to the final four and a championship game was an experience upon which Reynolds said he hopes his team can build.
“It was an awesome experience to have with them — it’s the first time they’ve been,” Reynolds said. “We played well in the semifinal game against Ponte Vedra and felt good about going into the state championship on Saturday. We knew it would be a battle.”
The man for the job
The loss shouldn’t overshadow one of the program’s best seasons in its history, and the job Reynolds has done to build the Hornets into a state power.
Coming into the postseason, the Hornets dominated just about every team they faced — going 15-2 through the regular season — behind a high powered offense, staunch defense and incredible goalie work.
“The most goals we gave up was six in any one game, so I would say that our defensive performance was awesome,” Reynolds said. “We were a little younger on the offensive side of the ball, and we were trying to get some key players to make that transition from JV to varsity step up, and we had some of those guys do that.”
Having that kind of talent certainly helps, but so does having a coach with the skill set and passion for the sport he’s been around since his freshman year at West Orange High School.
Reynolds, an Orlando native, picked up lacrosse between middle and high school when a friend introduced him to the sport.
“There are just so many aspects that make it an awesome sport,” Reynolds said. “It’s fast-paced, it requires a lot of hand-eye coordination, it requires some endurance and strength.”
After graduating in 2006, Reynolds made his way north to continue his playing career at Division III’s Utica College in New York.Reynolds moved back to Florida after graduating and took on his first coaching job at Bucholtz High School in Gainesville.
Through his three years at Bucholtz, Reynolds led the Bobcats to a 27-23 record — going 13-5 in his last season before landing the job at Bishop Moore.
Since his arrival, the Hornets have become a force on both the district and state level. Over the past five years, the Hornets have gone 70-24. In the last two seasons alone, his squads have gone 36-6.
With the quick progress made under Reynolds and the talent returning next season, it’s no wonder why Reynolds is already excited for the years to come.
“We feel pretty good about next year,” Reynolds said. “We’ve got a good group coming back. ... We’re hoping to get back to another states.”