After their closest win to date in the state playoffs, Bishop Moore will face off against Ponte Vedra Friday, May 11, in Boca Raton.
Last Friday, May 4, the Bishop Moore Hornets had one final test that stood in their way of a final four appearance — the Jesuit Tigers.
Despite smacking the Tigers (20-3, 4-0) earlier in the season 14-5, the stakes were much different.
Friday’s game was the regional final, and the Hornets (18-2, 6-0) were looking for their first state semifinal birth since the 2006 season.
“Our offense played pretty well for us in the first quarter, and they battled back — they want to keep playing too obviously,” said head coach Reed Reynolds. “Our defense was able to make some adjustments at halftime to give us that second-half push through to win.”
Those adjustments paid off as the Hornets were able to slip past the Tigers with an 8-5 win — propelled by a five goal night from junior captain Jake Kiefer.
With a spot in the semifinals sealed, the Hornets will be taking on a team in Ponte Vedra that they already have faced this season. Back in mid-March, the Sharks (18-5, 6-0) made their way to College Park and played one of the best lacrosse games of the season, during which the Hornets stormed back in the fourth quarter to take the 7-6 win.
Reynolds said his squad will prepare itself for the upcoming rematch by sticking to the same general game plan from before, although there will be some tweaks.
“There are always things that you can improve on and things that you can try and do a little bit better,” Reynolds said. “We’re going to make some small adjustments … and see if we can put the same result on the board.”
With only one — possibly two — games left, Reynolds said there wasn’t a lack of motivation among his players. They all are ready to win and do something Bishop Moore has never done — win a state title.
“There are always things that you can improve on and things that you can try and do a little bit better.”
- Reed Reynolds
To do that, the Hornets will rely on players who have shined this season. Leading the way on offense is Kiefer — the junior All-American with the golden stick. Kiefer leads the team with 68 goals through 17 games played — equating to four goals per game.
“He’s a super athlete, and he’s an awesome player,” Reynolds said. “It’s difficult for any defender to guard him.”
But Kiefer isn’t alone. Seven other Hornets have racked up at least 11 or more goals each. Sophomores RJ Sanfilippo and Brooks Rask round out Bishop Moore’s top-three scorers with 48 and 41 goals, respectively.
On the defensive side, All-American and senior co-captain Will Jones anchors down things in the back, alongside co-captain Jackson Canfield and senior goalie Mike Randazzo.
“He (Jones) guards everyone else’s best player, and he does a great job with that,” Reynolds said. “He’s committed to Holy Cross, which is a D1 program.”
To help win the ball off the ground, Reynolds will rely on his one-two punch of junior midfielder Jake Greeno and sophomore midfielder Hudson Bohn. Between the two, Bohn and Greeno have won a total of 282 face-offs out of 390 — a success rate of 72.3%. Bohn also happens to lead the team in ground balls with 141.
Between the overpowering offense, staunch defense and ability to win possession, this year’s Bishop Moore team is one of the best in the history of the program. It’s also a reason to believe the Hornets can finish strong with a possible state title.
“Regardless of how it ends up, they’ve worked really hard and they’ve had an awesome season, and it’s been recognized,” Reynolds said. “If we’re able to win, that would just be the pinnacle of it. They’re hungry to get two more (wins), and it will be difficult, but there is a lot of hard work and a lot of things that have had happened for them to be proud of.”