Matanzas' Seth Leister and Korvin Brey scored five goals each.
Before Matanzas’ boys lacrosse team took to the field to face Flagler Palm Coast in the 2019 season opener on Tuesday, Feb. 19, the Pirates set the goal of beating their crosstown rival by at least 20.
The Pirates didn’t meet their goal. Instead, they obliterated the Bulldogs 19-5.
Matanzas coach Efrain Gutierrez said entering Tuesday night’s game was “a little bit nerve wracking,” however. The Pirates squeaked out an 8-5 win in a preseason match on Thursday, Feb. 14, against St. Joseph Academy, a school in St. Augustine that didn’t have a lacrosse program prior to this season. The Pirates were also without several starters due to illness. And, to top it all off, the Pirates are tasked with figuring out who will step up in the place of last year’s graduating class, which includes several athletes who now play lacrosse in college.
“Our culture hasn’t changed, and the guys know that,” Gutierrez said. “They want to make sure that they’re making those guys who graduated last year proud.”
Matanzas’ Seth Leister and Korvin Brey each stepped up against the Bulldogs, scoring five goals apiece. Brey netted a hat trick with 2:59 to play in the first period, and Leister scored his third goal with 4:44 to play in the second period. The Pirates’ Alex Anderson scored his third goal with 3.7 seconds remaining in the half, giving the Pirates a commanding 14-2 lead over the Bulldogs.
“We’re thin. We’re fairly undersized. But boy, do these guys love to play lacrosse. And sometimes that’s all you need — just a will and a want to play the game.”
Efrain Gutierrez, Matanzas coach
“We went out there with the mentality to score as much as we possibly could,” Leister said.
The Bulldogs made a short run in the third period, scoring three straight goals to cut the deficit to 14-5. Brey’s fourth goal late in the third period helped the Pirates regain their double-digit lead, which was never relinquished.
“I was just so pumped up,” he said. “Playing FPC, I just wanted to do something big.”
The Pirates lost the district championship to bitter rival St. Augustine in heart-breaking fashion a season ago. That defeat is fuel for the remainder of this season and beyond.
“We don’t want to experience that again,” Leister said. “We want to put some hardware back on the shelf at Matanzas.”