Nike/US Lacrosse West Region Report
by Todd Karpovich | LaxMagazine.com
Players to watch
Jack Ortlieb, Corona del Mar (Calif.)
Lucas Gradinger, Torrey Pines (Calif.)
Cole Johnson, Bellevue (Wash.)
Games to watch
Bellevue (Wash.) at Bainbridge Island (Wash.), March
Heritage (Colo.) at Arapahoe (Colo.), March
1. La Costa Canyon (Calif.) 0-0
The Mavericks open the season March 12 against at home against St. Margaret's Episcopal. La Costa Canyon is the defending San Diego Section Division I champions and is led by Aaron Loy and senior goalie Bryan Cooper.
2. Arapahoe (Colo.) 0-0
The defending state champion Warriors host Heritage on March 8 to open the 2013 season. Arapahoe is looking for its fourth state title in six years.
3. St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.) 0-0
The Wildcats open the season at Oak Park River Forest Lacrosse Tournament. St. Ignatius is the favorite to defend its title as the three-time West Catholic Athletic League champion.
4. Torrey Pines (Calif.) 0-0
The Falcons open the season on the road March 6 against Carlsbad after reaching the CIF San Diego Section title game last season, Torrey Pines has five players signed with Division I schools, consisting of Jake Kennedy (Bucknell), All-American Lucas Gradinger (Maryland), Chris Carter (Notre Dame), Bryce Cady (Bryant), and Corey Black (Monmouth). Bennett Shafer will play at Denison next season.
5. Corona del Mar (Calif.) 1-0
The Sea Kings beat University Irvine, 15-3, in their 2013 season opener. Hunter Molnar finished with a game-high four goals and one assist. Corona del Mar was undefeated last season en route to its first CIF Southern Section title.
6. Cherry Creek (Colo.) 0-0
The Bruins travel to Rock Canyon on March 12 in their first regular season game. Cherry Creek fell just short of a 12th state championship last season, losing to undefeated Arapahoe in the title game.
7. San Ramon Valley (Calif.) 1-0
The Wolves opened their defense of the North Coast Section Division I championship with a 10-9 victory over Sacred Heart Prep. Peter Tagliaferri led Sam Ramon with five goals and Brian Danis scored three times.
8. Palos Verdes (Calif.) 1-0
The Sea Kings open the season March 5 at home against Downey. Palos Verdes is looking to make another run to the CIF championship game.
9. Bellevue (Wash.) 0-0
The Wolverines hit the ground running with a season-opening game against Bainbridge Island on March 8. Bellevue is riding a 14-game winning streak and last season won its second state title in the three years and ninth since the program's inception in 1980.
10. Issaquah (Wash.) 0-0
The Eagles travel to Liberty on March 9 to open the 2013 season. Issaquah can't wait to get back in the field after having a 19-game winning streak snapped by Kings Way Christian in the playoffs last season. The Eagles are led by senior goalie Brady Hahn and senior defensemen Eric Rauch and Mitch Undi.
News and notes
Sea Kings ready to rule
Corona del Mar (Calif.) has established itself as one of the West Coast region's top programs, finishing last season 24-0 and winning the Southern Section championship.
The Sea Kings are playing as an independent for the first time after winning the Pacific Coast League title five consecutive years, going 50-0 in that span.
This season, the Sea Kings should continue to be a dominant team with a high-powered attack unit that includes the return of All-American Jack Ortlieb, a Holy Cross recruit, who had 56 goals and 25 assists last season. Also returning is Casey Mix (UC-Santa Barbara), who had 44 goals and 36 assists, and midfielder Brett Nelson, who added 14 goals and 10 assists. The defense is led by Hugh Crance.
"Our non-league schedule has always been very tough, but now our entire schedule is far more difficult," coach GW Mix said. "We will have to effectively manage the challenges that come with a very difficult schedule and a target on our back. Our best strength is we have a very smart, dedicated and hard working group of kids. They have learned how to deal with challenges and how to win tight games."
Lincoln returns to defend
Lincoln (Ore.) is primed to defend its state title with a strong returning class. Some of the top returning players include: close senior defenseman Erick Reister, sophomore defenseman Ben Paris, who is a solid Division I prospect, junior attackman Jack Gross and sophomore midfielder Reed Zabel.
"We'll look to defend the state championship with defense and athleticism," coach Will Harris said. "Draw on experience to win close games. It's gonna be a free-for-all out here."
Lincoln finished the season at 21-3 and opens its 2013 season March 9 against Lakeridge.
You can call it Utah's version of "Whisker Wars." East (Utah) coach Pete Stevenson and Juan Diego Catholic (Utah) coach Pat Lambert each sport prominent beards. However, one of them will be much more clean-cut after the schools meet March 11 as the loser of the game has agreed to shave his beard.
The early predictions on the so-called "Beard Bet" lean toward Juan Diego, last season's state champion. The Eagles also beat East 17-2 during the regular season.
Still. Stevenson warned people not to overlook his team.
"They are far better than we are," Stevenson wrote on the Utah Lacrosse News website. "But it is still lacrosse. And we are better than last year. And they still have to score more goals than us this year, because the 15 that they beat us by last year don't roll over. And sometimes that ball rolls the right way."
Sharpen your razors, coaches.
Check back to LaxMagazine.com every other Wednesday throughout the high school season for updates to the Nike/US Lacrosse Regional Boys' Top 10 rankings and the Nike/US Lacrosse National Boys' Top 25.