Jupiter is one win away from its first boys lacrosse title.
The Warriors took down cross-county rival St. Andrew’s in the state semifinal at Boca Raton High on Friday night, beating the Scots 12-5.
“We really took them seriously, losing to them earlier in the year,” Jupiter coach Nick O’Hara said.
With a lively crowd backing both local teams, St. Andrew’s opened the scoring on a goal by Anthony Molle 3:47 into the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Scots, it would be their last goal for almost 12 minutes of game time.
In the meantime, the Warriors took the offensive initiative.
Jupiter went on a 5-0 run in the first and second quarters, finishing the half up, 7-2.
The Scots’ offensive struggles could be traced to key midfielder Michael Lizzio’s collarbone injury, which he suffered in the regional finals. Lizzio’s 44 goals — tied for the team lead — were sorely missed Friday.
“Them being a little bit shorthanded changed them up, certainly,” O’Hara said.
St. Andrew’s offense had an even rougher second half. After Molle picked up his second goal with 6:24 left in the second quarter, the Scots were held scoreless until junior attacker Matt Adams scored with 4:26 left in the fourth quarter. Jupiter defender Joey Bretz, matched up with Adams, held him in check until the end of the game.
“He’s been tremendous the last month of the season,” O’Hara said. “He’s been awesome his whole career here — a four-year starter — but he rose to the challenge last week, covered a terrific attack man for Cardinal Newman. Tonight, we knew he was going to be pressed, and he did a great job again.”
The Warriors’ goals came from a mix of players, with junior midfielders Riley Linden and Trevor Sousa, freshman attacker Max Sanderson, sophomore attacker Chris Radice and senior attacker Benno Janssen each picking up a pair of goals.
“We’ve been pretty balanced all year,” O’Hara said. “Typically, with a team that goes to the state finals, you’ll probably have a guy that’s got 80, 90 points. We’ve got a couple guys with 60, one with 50, a couple midfielders that are in the high 30s, low 40s. So we’ve got a bunch of guys that can really share the ball.”
If Jupiter wins on Saturday, the Warriors will be the first public-school team to win since lacrosse became an FHSAA sanctioned sport in 2007. Jupiter will face Orlando-Bishop Moore in the state championship game at 8 p.m..
“Winning tonight by so many goals, we were able to get a couple of guys some extra minutes there and rest a couple of players,” O’Hara said. “We feel good. We’ve done the short turnaround before.”