Capping the Southeast Region 2020 preview, LaxRecords unveils its preseason Southeast Region Top 10 ranking and justification for each.
Preseason Top 10
1. Ponte Vedra (Fla.), 0-0
2. Episcopal Dallas (Texas), 0-0
3. Dallas Jesuit (Texas), 1-0
4. Lambert (Ga.), 1-0
5. Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.), 0-0
6. Walton (Ga.), 1-1
7. Montgomery Bell Academy (Tenn.), 0-0
8. St. Andrew’s (Fla.), 0-0
9. Highland Park (Texas), 0-0
10. Lassiter (Ga.), 2-0
Also considering (alpha order): Cardinal Mooney (Fla.), Christ School (N.C.), Jupiter (Fla.), McCallie School (Tenn.), Oxbridge Academy (Fla.), St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.), Westminster (Ga.), The Woodlands (Texas), Lake Norman (N.C.)
Ponte Vedra gets the nod as the preseason No. 1 after winning it all in 2019 and returning a stellar lineup. They have seven Division I commits in their lineup and even with the possible loss of Dylan Hess for most, if not all, of the season, Head Coach Tom West still has a midfield group with Carter Parlette (Notre Dame), Freddie Amato (Lehigh), and Joe Taraboletti (Denver). The Sharks boast a schedule with defending Georgia state champion Walton, Gilman (Md.), Boys’ Latin (Md.), McDonogh (Md.) along with Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), Montverde Academy (Fla.) and Cardinal Mooney (Fla.).
Episcopal Dallas plays a whos-who of competition this season after winning the state championship last season. Head Coach Jay Sothoron plays Palos Veres (Calif.), Loyola-Los Angeles (Calif.), St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Va.), defending Illinois state champion New Trier and Missouri’s defending champion MICDS (Mo.). Add in-state powers Dallas Jesuit (Texas), Highland Park (Texas) and The Woodlands (Texas) and the Eagles will be tested once the playoffs begin.
Dallas Jesuit has not won a title since winning back-to-back in 2016 and 2017. Head Coach Chris Surran will have his team ready for a title run with regular-season games against The Woodlands (Texas) and Austin Westlake (Texas) before the end of February. Games against Episcopal Dallas followed up by out-of-state games against St. Ignatius (Calif.) and Sacred Heart (Calif.) is just the start. The Rangers also play St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, Torrey Pines (Calif.) and Loyola Los-Angeles.
There was no love-loss when Georgia power Lambert opened its season looking for revenge against Walton on Valentine’s Day. The Longhorns got their shot at claiming No. 1 in the state early and came away with a 7-5 win. Games against Roswell (Ga.), Lovett (Ga.) and Westminster (Ga.) will be key games later this season.
Cardinal Gibbons gets the early nod as the top team in North Carolina with a solid nucleus returning and a schedule that plays some of Maryland’s best teams in Loyola-Blakefield (Md.), Landon (Md.) and Bullis (Md.).
Defending Georgia state champion Walton gets the nod at No. 6 based on who they return and a schedule that started with Georgia’s 5A champion Westminster (Ga.), then a Lambert team they defeated in the state championship game last year and finally a road game against Ponte Vedra. They defeated Westminster 9-7, before falling to Lambert. They play in-state teams like Allatoona (Ga.), Roswell (Ga.) and Lassiter (Ga.) before they even think about the playoffs.
Montgomery Bell Academy put together an impressive schedule that opens with Christ School (N.C.) on Feb. 29 and then goes on the road to play Culver Academy (Ind.), Charlotte Latin (N.C.) and Lake Norman (N.C.). In-state rivals Memphis University School (Tenn.) and McCallie School (Tenn.) along with Kentucky power Trinity (Ky.) will get Head Coach Matt Garvey’s team ready for the playoffs.
St. Andrew’s has Corey Frydman (UMass) and Louie Adams (Amherst) returning on the defensive end of the field. The Scots allowed only 121 goals last season. St. Andrew’s is the No. 1 Class 1A team, according to the Florida State Lacrosse Coaches Association. Openings game against Oxbridge Academy (Fla.), followed by Jupiter (Fla.), which are No. 2 (1A) and No. 3 (2A) respectively will test the team early.
Highland Park seeks its first state title since 2015. Head Coach Rich Moses looks to celebrate the program’s 25th year with his first state championship. The Scots also put together a nice out-of-state schedule with games against Coronado (Calif.), St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes, Torrey Pines, and Loyola-Los Angeles to compliment in-state opponents.
Lassiter is an early favorite to win it all in Georgia this season with a key group of all-state players returning. Their late-season schedule is brutal for a team expected to head into the playoffs, with a road game against Walton and a regular-season finale against McCallie School.