FLEMING ISLAND - The Fleming Island lacrosse teams each bowed out in the FHSAA district semifinals on April 11, with the boys coming out on the short end of a 12-6 decision against St. Augustine and …
FLEMING ISLAND - The Fleming Island lacrosse teams each bowed out in the FHSAA district semifinals on April 11, with the boys coming out on the short end of a 12-6 decision against St. Augustine and the girls falling 18-1 to Ponte Vedra.
The girls finished with a 9-6 record, winning six of their final eight games. They simply ran into a buzzsaw in Ponte Vedra, who claimed the District 3-1A title on April 13 and is ranked third in Florida’s Class 1A by MaxPreps.com. Jillian LaBelle, who set school records for career points (190), career goals (169), points in a season (92), goals in a season (81), and goals in a single game (11) this year, scored Fleming Island’s lone goal. The Golden Eagles will lose LaBelle and starting defenders Baylee Jennings and Rylee Thornberry to graduation. Head coach Brian Seech was thankful for their contributions.
“I will remember these seniors as talented, team-dedicated athletes who genuinely love the game of lacrosse,” he said.
Seech, who stepped in to coach the Lady Eagles after Chris Peterson departed for a coaching job at Flagler College late last summer, thoroughly enjoyed his first season at the helm.
“Our roster numbers were not as strong as other teams, but I couldn’t be prouder of the grit the girls displayed,” he said. “I’m grateful to have had the experience to watch the players develop character and courage this season.”
Seven starters will return next year, including freshman goaltender Esther Fernandes. Juniors Katie Logan, Sophie Roberts and Chloe Perry will be counted on to fill the offensive void left by LaBelle.
“Chloe is definitely one of my future leaders,” said Seech. “She is fun, she is energetic, and she’s a grinder. She calls herself the hype girl.”
Seech is also counting on speedy freshman attack Kathryn Ward to make a significant contribution next year, labeling her “the next Jillian.”
The boys finished with an 8-10 record. Like the girls, head coach John Hawley has to replace his best offensive player but is stocked with a core of underclassmen who give hope for success. Leading scorer Will Krupsky is taking his shooting and passing skills to Jacksonville University in the fall, but the Eagles will return seven of their 10 starters next season.
“We are a very young team with a lot of potential,” said Hawley. “I was very impressed with the improvement in individual lacrosse skills and team play from the beginning to the end of the year.”
Four of the returning starters are freshmen.
Hawley expects a lot of offensive production from juniors Brady Goldblatt and Damon Kelly in 2024, while long stick midfielder Cameron Eldridge will return to handle faceoffs.
The defense will miss Jace Van Lierop and goaltender Paul Walter, who will travel to Spain this summer as a member of the Spanish national team.
“What I will remember most about this team was that we had dedicated, hard-working seniors with great leadership skills,” said Hawle
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