Oak Hall Boys’ Lacrosse soaring to new heights
By Jack DaSilva
One of the best lacrosse teams in the state of Florida is right here in our area.
The Oak Hall (Gainesville) Eagles are soaring with a 14-2 record with their only losses coming at the hands of Bolles (Jacksonville) in February and at Ponte Vedra, 13-7, last Friday.
In fact, the loss to the nationally-ranked No. 4 Sharks on March 31 snapped a school-record 13-game winning streak. Oak Hall previously hadn’t lost since that one-goal loss to the Bulldogs (7-6) on February 10th.
“Well, obviously we’re happy with our start this season,” said Oak Hall head coach Jonathan Montes. ”We have a relatively young team[…] last year we had to put a lot of freshmen on the field and even better news is that now they’re sophomores.
“So we start like four sophomores, a few juniors and a couple of seniors.”
With Oak Hall being as good as they are (last week North Florida Lacrosse News had the Eagles ranked at #6 and Laxpower.com rating service had them ninth), the fact that there are more sophomores than seniors should scare schools in the area for years to come.
With three players currently committed to play college Lacrosse (two to Villanova and one to High Point University), Oak Hall is a school that produces next-level talent year in and year out.
The coaching staff all have experience playing lacrosse in college so the players can trust they’re receiving expert advice and coaching from their staff. Assistant RJ Fuhr, who Montes calls ‘the brains of the operation,’ is one of four assistant coaches.
Junior Thad Spiker believes this is Oak Hall’s best Lacrosse program yet. He thinks that the Eagles come together as a team and they play well with each other which was certainly a factor in their win over rival Buchholz, who they could see again on Friday in the district championship on Friday night.
“That’s always a big game [Buchholz] but we don’t overthink it because we don’t want to psych ourselves out,” he said. ”We want to put more focus on the district championship to put us into the state playoffs.”
Spiker is committed to play Division-I lacrosse at Villanova where he’ll join his twin brother, Alex, who is also currently playing at Oak Hall. Junior Jaxson Lamb is commited to High Point (NC).
Thad Spiker explained why he thinks this Oak Hall team has been on such a great run.
“I think everyone is embracing their role on the team and we’re all playing for each other,” he said. ”We overcame adversity at the beginning of the season and I feel like in the years past some of the older guys would not have responded to that pressure as well as the older guys on this team have.”
With a strong coaching staff, a few college commits, and a young foundation, Oak Hall lacrosse is in a position to make a run in the state playoffs and they have a real shot at winning a state title.
But before the Eagles can think about another match-up with Buchholz, or the postseason, they’ll have to take care of business first in tonight’s district semifinals against Gainesville at 7 p.m. at Citizen’s Field.
The winner of Friday night’s district championship will advance to an FHSAA First-Round Play-In Game at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 13.