Eagles three-peat as district champs

Oak Hall's Tyler Baggett drives toward the goal during the district final against Buchholz at Citizens Field on Friday.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 12:08 a.m.

After exiting Citizens Field on Friday with a third straight district title in tow, Tyler Baggett and the Oak Hall boys lacrosse team had reason to feel confident heading into next week's state playoffs.

In the first 12 minutes of their District 7 final against Buchholz, the top-seeded Eagles reeled off seven goals from six different scorers en route to their 11-2 victory against the No. 2-seeded Bobcats.

Following junior Jake Kirschner's opening score 53 seconds into the game, Baggett took over Oak Hall's midfield and had a hand in four of his team's next eight goals to build a 9-0 lead at halftime.

“We knew if we came out strong, we'd be able to put them away,” Baggett said. “We just ran our offenses, and it worked out perfectly.”

The Eagles, who improved to 16-1 this season, entered on a three-game winning streak that included a 7-6 victory over state-ranked Tampa Jesuit a week ago and a 21-goal performance to open the district tournament against Eastside.

“We beat (Jesuit) by a goal and that just boosted our confidence so much,” Baggett said. “This game gave us even more and hopefully we'll go further than we ever have before in the playoffs.”

One of three Oak Hall players to score multiple goals, Baggett finished with a team-high three assists and two goals. After Kirschner netted a hat trick in the first half, Baggett extended the Eagles' lead to 10-0 less than a minute into the third with two Bobcats on the sideline due to penalties.

“He made great passes tonight, and he drew the double quickly,” Oak Hall coach Rick Kirschner said. “Then he was able to move the ball along to the next guy, and we were able to finish. We scored some easy goals. He's really developing as a great player.”

Buchholz finally got on the board later in the third quarter when senior Nick Sivils and sophomore Kyle Hunziker snuck consecutive goals past Oak Hall goalie Miles Davis. After being outshot 13-6 in the first half, the Bobcats peppered Davis — who made a game-high nine saves — with 10 shots in the third.

“We weren't talking, and we weren't communicating well on defense to start the game,” BHS coach Reed Reynolds said. “The guys woke up a little bit in second half, and obviously giving them that seven-goal lead in the first quarter just proved to be too much of a deficit.”

With a comfortable lead, the Eagles settled their attack down for a scoreless final quarter to earn their second win over Buchholz (18-5) this season.

As district champion, Oak Hall advances to host District 6 winner St. Augustine on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a first-round, play-in game for the FHSAA Finals.

“We're proud of the boys,” said Kirschner, who is in his second year as coach. “They've worked hard and have done everything we've asked them to do. They never quit.”

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