Posted: 11:01 am Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Boys lacrosse: Benjamin advances to state semifinals 

By Jodie Wagner

Benjamin will make its second straight appearance in the boys lacrosse state semifinals this weekend in Bradenton.

The Bucs, who beat Boca Raton 9-7 Tuesday in a third-round play-in game at Benjamin, will face Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas at 7 p.m. Friday at IMG Academy.

The winner will play defending champion Orlando-Lake Highland Prep or Ponte Vedra on Saturday for the state championship. The Highlanders and Sharks play their semifinal Friday at 5 p.m.

Benjamin (14-5), which lost to St. Andrew’s in the state semifinals last season, had their hands full with the Bobcats Tuesday.

The Bucs jumped out quickly against Boca Raton (17-4) and held a 7-3 lead at halftime before the Bobcats stormed back in the second half.

Boca cut the Bucs’ lead to 8-7 before Will Nicklaus’ fourth-quarter score iced the game.

“They controlled the ball a lot in the second half,” Benjamin coach Shane Rye said of the Bobcats, who were playing in their first-ever third round play-in game. “Their goalie got hot.”

St. Thomas Aquinas is a familiar opponent for the Bucs. The teams played March 7, with Benjamin winning 10-9 in overtime.

Rye expects another close game Friday.

“They have a big roster of athletic kids,” he said of the Raiders. “They play hard. We know what we’re going to get.”