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Opening face-off for Oak Hall's Friday-night matchup versus Winter Park. (Mar. 22)

Oak Hall lacrosse survives heavyweight bout with Winter Park 10-5

In a matchup between top-ranked teams in the state of Florida, the Oak Hall Eagles defeated the Winter Park Wildcats 10-5.

For Oak Hall, Kyle Cox led the team with three goals and three assists, followed closely by Ben Moraski with three goals and one assist. For Winter Park, Garrett Moore led the team with three goals followed by Parker Junod with two goals and one assist.

Jack Limon of Oak Hall played a pivotal role in creating turnovers and clearing the ball to create offensive possessions. Some of his groundball work turned into fast-break opportunities for the Eagles, which played a role in them pulling away late in the game.

Trading Shots

It was apparent early in the game that this game would not be the usual blowout that the Eagles have become accustomed to. The Wildcats defeated Bishop Moore, one of the top teams in the state, earlier this season; and Oak Hall knew this coming into the game.

“Winter Park has a lot of talent. Their face-off man is excellent. They’re very well coached. They have very good atheletes and they just got after it.” – Oak Hall Coach Montes

The teams nearly mirrored each other’s play early in the game, with the shot differential never surpassing +2 on either side in the first half. What really turned the tide of the game was the play of Oak Hall #20 Shayne Ryan. Ryan made 8 saves in the game, stopping what seemed like every shot that landed on goal.

Ryan’s saves combined with good execution for the Eagles on offense helped bring them to a 5-2 lead at halftime.

Winter Park came out in the second half firing on all cylinders, scoring two goals in the first minute of the third quarter to close the gap. Oak Hall would respond with two goals to end the quarter, as things took a turn near the end of the third.

Problematic penalties

Frustration with officiating and the course of the game mounted for the Wildcats at the end of the third quarter. They would commit two penalties to end the quarter two-men-down.

These penalties ultimately subdued the Wildcat comeback hopes. Winter Park committed a total of nine penalties in the game, six of which occurred in the fourth quarter.

Oak Hall capitalized off of their man-up opportunities, scoring the three goals in the fourth quarter to seal the deal. Coach Montes commented on how his team kept their composure as the game heated up:

“Senior leadership, simple as that. You’ve got guys out here who understand what it is to wear an Oak Hall uniform.” – Coach Montes

Montes cited seniors Kyle Cox and Ryan O’Leary as the leaders to keep their team grounded during the onslaught of penalties committed against them.

Looking forward

Oak Hall plays Forest High School on Mar. 25

Winter Park plays Timber Creek High School on Mar. 27

About Steven Walker

Steven Walker is a beat writer for ESPN Gainesville and is currently studying Journalism & Sports Media at the University of Florida.

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