High School Sports

Ransom Everglades aiming to become boys’ lacrosse powerhouse

St. Thomas Aquinas’ Kevin Koss looks for an opening during last year’s playoffs.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Kevin Koss looks for an opening during last year’s playoffs. Miami Herald staff

Ransom Everglades, which opened its boys’ lacrosse season with a 6-4 win over Belen on Tuesday, doesn’t rank — at least not yet — with local powers such as St. Thomas Aquinas, which made it to the state semifinals last season.

“Aquinas is at the top of the food chain right now in Broward or Dade,” said Ransom coach Roy Kelly, who has been coaching lacrosse for three decades. “And Columbus has been the class in Miami.

“We can usually play with Columbus for a while, but then fatigue sets in, and they wear us down. This year, though, we’re a lot deeper. We’ve got some veterans who want to put their stamp on things, and we have some talented young guys.”

One of those veterans is Eddy Garcia-Montes, a 6-2, 180-pound senior who plays center back in soccer, free safety and quarterback in football, and defense in lacrosse.

“He’s our undisputed leader,” lacrosse assistant coach Chazz Woodson said.

Garcia-Montes is also highly intelligent. He has an un-weighted 3.84 GPA, wants to study engineering and has been accepted to MIT, where he will play lacrosse and football (he has been told he will likely switch to wide receiver in college).

MIT, located just outside of Boston, is considered one of the top universities in the country. It’s been said that if you combined the revenues of the companies founded by MIT graduates, you would have the 11th largest economy in the world.

The school has a keen entrepreneurial spirit, and Garcia-Montes canceled a visit to Cal once he got accepted to MIT.

“MIT is a place that truly puts academics ahead of athletics,” said Garcia-Montes, who can envision a career designing airplanes.

For now, he has designs on leading Ransom to a strong playoff run, and the win over Belen only enhanced his positive feelings.

“Coming into the season, I didn’t think much of our chances,” Garcia-Montes said. “But when I saw how all our young guys have progressed … I can see it now.”

Kelly said most lacrosse coaches encourage prospects to play multiple sports in high school, which is what Garcia-Montes has done.

The skill sets he learns in the other sports can be transferred to the lacrosse field.

“He is a hard-working and talented player as far as his stick skill and his clearing ability,” Kelly said. “Because he plays three sports, he sees the field really well.

“If you would have asked me before [the win over Belen], which was his best sport, I might have said football.

“But he continues to impress me in lacrosse. Eventually, he may be a better lacrosse player than a football player.”

Season overview

Key Dates

Monday: Season began.

April 6-10: Districts.

April 17: State first-round play-ins.

April 21: State second-round play-ins.

April 25: State third-round play-ins.

May 1-2: State final four at IMG Academy in Bradenton.

2014 State Champions

Boys: Orlando Lake Highland.

Girls: Vero Beach.

Top girls’ teams

1. St. Thomas Aquinas

2. Pine Crest

3. West Broward

4. Douglas

5. Palmer Trinity

Top boys’ teams

1. St. Thomas Aquinas

2. American Heritage

3. Pine Crest

4. Gulliver

5. Columbus

Boys’ lacrosse preview capsules

CALVARY CHRISTIAN: Coach: Adam Bond; Last year: 7-9; Top players: Hunter Ramsay (jr. D); Colton Coffin (sr. F); Luke Baldis (sr. A); Noteworthy: There are nine returners, 23 newcomers. The last 15 members of the school’s first team in 2011 graduated last year.

CARDINAL GIBBONS: Coach: Rudy Williams; Last year: 11-4; Top players: Trent Motta (jr. M); R.J. Bretton (so. A); Luke Motta (jr. M); Noteworthy: Gibbons graduated 18 seniors, including all its seniors, from last year’s team.

COLUMBUS: Coach: Jim DeLang; Last year: 16-5; Top players: Jon Nickas (sr. G); Mike Perry (jr. M); Alex Gonzalez (sr. A); Noteworthy: Explorers graduated 21 seniors, including six who made first-team All-Dade as Columbus made it to final 16 at state.

KILLIAN: Coach: Benjamin Young; Last year: 1-8. Top players: Chris Koch (A/M, Jr.); Hugh Chin (A/M, Sr.); Daniel Segura (LSM, Sr.); Andres Villalobos (D, Sr.); Zach Pierce (M, Sr.); Jack Cropley (GK, Jr.).

GULLIVER: Coach: Jim Piggot; Last year: 9-8; Top players: C.J. Hassan (jr. M); Trevor Pelleher (jr. A); Corey Langer (sr. D); Noteworthy: Hassan, a running back on the Gulliver football team, sees the field well, Piggot said.

LASALLE: Coach: Anthony Vuono; Last year: NA; Top players: Spencer Garcia (jr. M); Charles Damon (jr. D); Aurelio Miranda (sr. D); Noteworthy: LaSalle’s starting goalie is senior Kevin McNamara.

MIAMI COUNTRY DAY: Coach: Chaka Bainbridge; Last year: 11-5; Top players: Pablo Mejia (sr. M); Alasten Weinberg (sr. M); Paul-Julian Garland (sr. G); The top four players are seniors, but MCD also has 15 freshmen on its roster.

PALMER TRINITY: Coach: Chris Galgano; Last year: 7-9; Top players: Frank Martinez (sr. M); Sven Schele (sr. A); John Tigertail (jr. D); Noteworthy: Senior Johnathan Sourber is the starting goalie on a defensive-minded team.

PALMETTO: Coach: Robert Murray; Last year: 8-4; Top players: Chris Calderin (sr. A); Conner Berg (sr. D); Gaby Diaz (sr. M); Noteworthy: The defending district champs are led by Calderin’s shifty moves and Berg’s shut-down defense.

PINE CREST: Coach: George Harris; Last year: 10-8; Top players: Zack Smith (sr. M); David Tescher (jr. M); Chris Dunne (so. A); Noteworthy: The defending district champs are led by Smith, who scored 42 goals last year.

RANSOM EVERGLADES: Coach: Roy Kelly; Last year: 8-6; Top players: Eddy Garcia-Montes (sr. D); Nic Murphy (sr. A); Stephen Stricker (jr. G); Noteworthy: Kelly said his team is inexperienced but coachable.

SOUTH PLANTATION: Coach: Mike Collins; Last year: 2-13; Top players: Mateo Knight (jr. M); Jarred Lynn (jr. A); Dillon Neir (jr. M); Noteworthy: With a new coaching staff and new players, there is optimism for improvement.

ST. BRENDAN: Coach: Shanahan; Last year: no team; Top players: Carlos Clavijo (jr. M); Gabe Cardona (jr. M); Tristen Fernandez (sr. A); Noteworthy: This is the school’s first lacrosse team. The Sabres will lplay as an independent this year.

UNIVERSITY: Coach: Jan Northrop; Last year: 14-4; Top players: Raul Mendy (sr. D); Blaine Preston (sr. M); Daniel Eisdorfer (sr. A); Noteworthy: With seven strong seniors, this could be a breakout year for University.

WEST BROWARD: Coach: Dan Cuoco; Last year: 5-7; Top players: Sean Biava (sr. M); Jessie Smith (sr. A); Tristian Miliman (sr. D); Noteworthy: Biava has a 4.78 GPA and helps lead an improved team.