Both Lacrosse Teams Take Home Titles


Mr. Crisafi

Eighth grader Jessica Holland tries to weave her way through a couple of St. Mark's defenders to get a shot on goal during the Bucs' 9-1 win on March 11, 2019.

The championships are starting to pile up for the Middle School. The lacrosse seasons for the boys’ and girls’ teams were an absolute success as both teams won their respective league titles. This sports sweep follows in the footsteps of the Bucs’ other championships this year, including the middle school girls’ soccer team, eighth-grade boys’ basketball team, and the middle school football team which also received a banner for an undefeated season this year.

The boys’ lacrosse team finished with a championship against Palm Beach Day, toppling the Bulldogs 8-5, and the girls capped off their undefeated season by crushing the St. Mark’s Lions 12-3 in the finals. Despite both teams losing a crop of talented eighth graders last year,  any concern about their abilities was quickly put to rest as both teams vanquished their opponents from the outset.

This was the third straight title and second consecutive undefeated season for the girls,  while the boys’ squad took home the trophy for the first time in three years.

The girls had a bye in their first round because they had the best record out of any team in the league. In the semifinals, they played The King’s Academy and cruised to a 12-7 win over the Lions. The team then set their sights on the finals against St. Mark’s. They dominated the game and won 13-5 to earn their third consecutive trophy.

The girls’ lacrosse team had one of the best seasons in the history of the Middle School. Not only did they go undefeated, but every game they played they won by nearly ten or more goals, showing how dominant they were every time they stepped onto the field to play. According to Head Coach Mr. Greg Keller, the Bucs were so successful because of their ability to play as a team.

“They got along like a family and nobody tried to be the star,” said Keller. “If I had to summarize this team, it was a lot of unselfish players who cared for each other.”

This sentiment was echoed by the players as well.  

“We played for one another instead of being selfish,” said eighth-grade defender Emilie Dubiel. “That’s why we won games.”

This team was balanced with a suffocating defense led by Dubiel and seventh grader Mimi Chandler, and a powerful offense ignited by eighth graders Nicole Nicklaus, Grace Tighe, and seventh grader Abby Spunar.

“Our team had fun while we were successful which made this season so memorable,” said Spunar. The team won the championship in front of its home crowd on Kennerly Field, finishing with a record of nine wins and zero losses.

Mr. Crisafi
Eighth grader Brady Quinn looks for an opening during a home game against the Pine School on March 26, 2019.

For the boys’ lacrosse team, led by Head Coach Mr. Riordan Cheatham, the key to its season was new players stepping up.

“Our team played with sportsmanship and skill with new players which made us be so successful this season,” said eighth-grade defenseman Cole Grande, a rookie who played his first year of lacrosse and was a key part of the Bucs’ stout defense.

Another important first-year player, midfielder and fellow eighth-grader Ryan Gikher, helped provide a spark for the Bucs’ attack as well.

“The season was extremely fun and I loved how successful our team was,” said Gikher. Like the girls, the boys also had great chemistry which translated into wins as the boys got along really well together.

“Everyone on the team cared for one another,” said sixth-grade midfielder Caden Hayes. “We pushed each other to be better.”

Every single player on the team contributed in some way to help the boys’ team achieve a final record of 10 wins and just two losses (both to non-league opponents). “Every player got along with every other player on the team,” said eighth-grade midfielder Brady Quinn. “This helped us in games where we needed to dig deep and do our jobs as a team to win.”

The Bucs cruised through the playoffs after having a first-round bye for having the best record in the league. They played Rosarian in the semifinals, sailing past the Raiders  13-5.

Then the boys battled Palm Beach Day in the finals, which would prove to be the most challenging game of the season.

“It was a tough, physical game that required every bit of energy every player had,” said seventh-grade midfielder Wilson Stewart.

The lead constantly switched between the Bucs and the Bulldogs, but TBS was eventually able to pull away at the end and capture the Palm Beach Independent School Association League Championship.

Both the girls’ and boys’ teams played as a unit instead of a group of individuals. The players had to execute, but, according to Middle School Athletic Director Mr. Toby Harbeck, it’s the coaches that make the difference.

“The coaches are special and the players get extremely good coaching by both Coach Keller and Coach Cheatham to make both the girls’ and the boys’ teams so successful,” he said.