Louis Yovino scored five goals, R.J. Curtin added four goals and two assists and St. Thomas Aquinas used an explosive second half to roll past Cypress Bay 19-4 in an FHSAA lacrosse first round play-in game on Tuesday at Brian Piccolo Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
The Raiders (14-5) will host Columbus on Friday in the second round of the state tournament. The Lightning, in just its third year of varsity play, finished the season 12-5.
Aquinas beat Columbus 14-8 earlier this season, but Raiders coach Terry Crowley told his players to forget that game ever happened.
“As far as we are concerned, we haven’t played them,” Crowley said “That’s what I told them after the game. I’ve known [Columbus coach] Jim Delang for more than 20 years and his team will be ready. It will be a chess match.”
The Raiders also have revenge on their mind after the Explorers knocked them out of the postseason in 2013.
“It’s nice to get another shot at them,” said Curtin. “But in the end, we have to focus on us and play our game.”
The Raiders led just 6-2 at the half but came out of the locker room on fire, scoring three goals in a 30-second span to break the game open. Alec Cumella, who dominated faceoffs for Aquinas, scored twice in the third quarter as a close game turned into a 12-3 St. Thomas lead.
A pair of quick fourth-quarter goals keyed by Cumella provided even more cushion for the hosts. First, he won a faceoff and zipped a pass to Samual Khalil who scored. Cumella then won the ensuing faceoff and raced in on goal to score to make it 15-4.
“I thought our guys played a heck of a game,” Cypress Bay coach Geoff Swinerton said. “We came here against a program like St. Thomas and were right there with them for a half. We’ve got a bright future.”
The game seemed to be materializing into a horse race from the outset with three goals in the first 1:20. The Raiders struck first off the opening face-off as Curtin scored his first goal. Off the ensuing faceoff, three quick passes led to a Cypress Bay answer as Jack Mutschler equalized. But as would happen for most of the contest, the Lightning would give up a goal right after scoring. This time it was Yovino with the first of his three first-half goals.
•St. Thomas Aquinas 11, Pine Crest 9:
Madison Cunnigham 10 saves. Ali Deekhizen 4 goals. Jenna Tolsman 2 goals. Chloe Mujwit 2 goals. STA 13-4. STA will play regional final Friday against Palmer Trinity.
•Palmer Trinity 12, West Broward 10:
WB: Juliette Cusano 4 goals, 8 draw controls. Arielle Jonas 4 goals. Natassjia Ragbeer 2 goals, 7 ground balls. Katrina Ragbeer 6 ground balls.