Winless start ends with district title Fleming Island boys lacrosse upends Fletcher

Winless start ends with district title

Story by Mike Zima
Posted 4/21/21

NEPTUNE BEACH - Fleming Island High lacrosse striker Will Krupsky scored six goals as he and teammate Luke Schreiober led the sharpshooting Fleming Island High School boys lacrosse team to a 16-8 win …

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Winless start ends with district title Fleming Island boys lacrosse upends Fletcher

Winless start ends with district title

Posted

NEPTUNE BEACH - Fleming Island High lacrosse striker Will Krupsky scored six goals as he and teammate Luke Schreiober led the sharpshooting Fleming Island High School boys lacrosse team to a 16-8 win at Neptune Beach Fletcher in the District 2-2A championship game on Thursday, April 15. The championship win comes after a season start that had four straight losses followed by eight regular season wins including plus two playoff games.

The win was Fleming Island’s 10th in a row, a streak that started with a 15-8 home win over Fletcher on March 3. The Golden Eagles, now 10-4, will host a regional final against Ocala Forest (13-4)on Friday, April 23 at Fleming Island High School. Opposite Fleming Island’s side of the bracket, Creekside (12-4) will travel to Lake Mary (16-1) for their playoff game. Creekside defeated Fleming Island 17-7 on February 24 as the second of the four losses that started the season. Fleming Island beat Fletcher 15-8 on March 3 in the first game of the 10 game win streak with Krupsky scoring four goals; three in the first quarter to a 9-1 early lead.

Against Fletcher, Krupsky scored half his goals on dodges from the right wing. The sophomore used shoulder, leg or shot fakes to duck inside his defender and shoot before a second defender could close. At 6’2”, Krupsky is an inviting target on the inside, and worked himself free in front of the net to score his other three goals off of feeds from teammates.

“Will can shoot left- or right-handed,“ said Fleming Island head coach John Hawley after the game. “He puts in so much work, the sky is the limit.”

As dominant as Krupsky was, Schreiber had an even bigger impact. The senior defenseman caused three turnovers, scooped a game-high 10 ground balls, scored three goals and had an assist. Even with a long pole, Schreiber was accurate when left open to snipe the goal from the top of the box.

“Luke can play any position,” said Hawley. “He is such as a threat, even as a defenseman, that we leave him out there on offense.”

The key sequence came at the end of the first half and the beginning of the third quarter. The Golden Eagles had a 7-1 lead when Fleming Island’s Jack Halstead was called for a three minute, non-releasable penalty. When the Senators’ Aiden Heilman scored thirty seconds into the man-up opportunity, it appeared as though the hosts might claw their way back into the game. But the Golden Eagles’ Parker Flagg won the ensuing faceoff, and Fleming Island maintained possession for the remaining 1:27 of the half. Then the Golden Eagles scored a short-handed goal on the first possession of the second half when Krupsky cut to the goal and converted a deft feed from Zach Lestrange. Flagg again won the faceoff, and Fleming Island held the ball for the duration of the penalty time.

“To stay essentially neutral there, that that was huge,” Hawley said of the penalty kill.

Flaggs’ faceoff wins were as timely as they were unlikely, as Fletcher won 17 of the 25 draws. The Golden Eagles evened out possession time by causing 15 turnovers, relentlessly pressuring the hosts every time they held the ball in their own end. Instead of heading to the sidelines to be replaced by defensive middies or even long poles, the Fleming Island midfielders remained on the field and locked on to their midfield counterparts. Meanwhile, Hawley stationed an attack on each side of the goal, where they wreaked havoc as the Senators tried to work the ball upfield. Junior Alex Bergin scored the opening goal of the game by knocking the ball out of Fletcher goaltender Bryce Kanatck’s stick behind the goal, scooping it up and outrunning Kanatch to the crease.

Fleming Island also countered Fletcher’s faceoff advantage with shooting accuracy. The Golden Eagles put 20 of their 31 shots on goal, while the Senators did so on just 13 of 23 shots. Hawley has had his offense report to practice 25 minutes early for the last three weeks to work exclusively on shooting.

“We focused on it, and our shooting has improved significantly,” he said.

Shaeffer Clark had a trick for the Eagles, Hayden Spiller had two goals and Lestrange notched a single goal.

Heilman and Nico Degance, both juniors, had three goals apiece for the Senators, who end their season at 9-3.

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