Nike/US Lacrosse West Region Report
by Todd Karpovich | LaxMagazine.com
Joe Lang, St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.)
Lang had six goals and an assist on a 13-7 victory over Torrey Pines, avenging a loss to the Falcons last season. He has signed with Harvard.
Warren Case, Foothill-Santa Ana (Calif.)
The junior midfielder had two goals and an assist in the Knights 5-4 overtime victory over La Costa Canyon (Calif.). Case also helped set up the game-winner by Conner Vail with a strong dodge to the cage.
Mikey Giannopulos, Issaquah (Wash.)
Giannopulos scored three goals to lead the Eagles to a 11-3 victory over Lake Washington. He also picked up 12 ground balls against Nevada state champion Palo Verde in the Northwest Invitational.
Games to watch
Arapahoe (Colo.) at Mullen (Colo.) – April 10
The game could feature two undefeated teams in Colorado with each having set its sights on a state championship. Colorado has one of its deepest leagues in the past decade and every game is becoming more crucial to the title race.
Brophy Prep (Ariz.) at St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.) – April 6
This is a pivotal non-conference match-up featuring the top team in Arizona against one of California's elite programs. Both teams have numerous players with Division I talent and could enter the game undefeated. Brophy Prep has yet to allow more than 10 goals in a game all season, while St. Ignatius is scoring more than 15.
1. St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.), 8-0
The Wildcats have established themselves as the top team in California with a dominant performance in each game, including a 15-3 demolition of local rival De LaSalle. St. Ignatius further established its dominance with a 13-7 victory over former No. 1 Torrey Pines. Joe Lang led the way with six goals and Chad Bell finished scored four times.
2. Cherry Creek (Colo.), 3-1
The Bruins opened the season with three strong victories in Colorado before traveling East. Cherry Creek dropped its first game of the season 12-6 to Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association power, St. Paul's, which is 8-0 and ranked 5th in the Nike/US Lacrosse National High School poll. The Bruins have two more tough games against Severn (Md.) and Penn Charter (Pa.).
3. Torrey Pines (Calif.), 6-1
The Falcons bounced back from a 13-7 loss to this week's new No. 1, St. Ignatius with four consecutive victories. Torrey Pines has two, huge out-of-state games looming against Colorado's Cherry Creek, Columbine and Kent Denver.
4. Arapahoe (Colo.), 6-0
The Warriors remain undefeated in what is shaping up to be an incredibly tough Colorado schedule this season. Arapahoe also picked up a big, non-conference victory over St. Mark's of Texas 6-3.
5. Corona del Mar (Calif.), 8-0
The Sea Kings continue to dominate, extending their unbeaten streak to 31 games dating back to last season. Corona del Mar knocked off previously undefeated Monte Vista-Danville (Calif.) 13-5 as goalie Hoyt Crance came up with 12 big stops and helped hold Danville scoreless for almost 22 minutes.
6. Columbine (Colo.) 4-3
The Rebels opened their season with four-in state wins that put them in a state title hunt. The Rebels then traveled to New York and dropped three close games to Yorktown (8-5), Fordham Prep (10-6) and John Jay-Cross River (13-12).
7. Bellevue (Wash.), 7-0
The Wolverines established themselves as the top team in Washington. Bellevue picked up a pair of quality wins against top-tier out-of-state opponents, Lincoln (Ore.) and Palo Verde (Nev.) A stern test looms this week as the Wolverines travel to New York to take on Port Washington, Long Beach and Wantagh.
8. Foothill-Santa Ana (Calif.) 9-2
The Knights picked up some key victories this season and handed Torrey Pines its first loss of the season with a 5-4 overtime victory. Santa Ana has been especially stellar defensively, allowing less than 10 goals per game.
9. Palos Verdes (Calif.), 8-0
The Sea Kings have managed to stay undefeated despite facing a couple of tough tests and one-goal victories, remaining in first place in the Bay League. Palos Verdes went through the opening portion of its schedule undefeated and have all the talent to run the table.
10. La Costa Canyon (Calif.), 5-1
The Mavericks suffered their first loss of the season in a 5-4 overtime setback to Foothill-Santa Ana. La Costa Canyon bounced back with two consecutive victories over San Ramon Valley (Calif.) and a big non-conference victory over Colorado's Wheat Ridge.
News and Notes
Columbine gives back [Related: Photo Gallery]
|Columbine (Colo.) coach Matt
Plitnick brought his team to Newtown, Conn., during a recent East
© Lee Weissman
Columbine (Colo.) took advantage of a recent trip to New York to not only get better as a lacrosse team, but also give back to a community still reeling from a tragic event.
The Rebels made a stop in Newtown, Conn., a town that is dealing with the aftermath Sandy Hook tragedy that took place Dec. 14. Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adults at the local elementary school. Columbine dealt with its own tragedy on April 20, 1999 when students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, shot and killed 12 students and one teacher.
"What the Sandy Hook teachers said is they would like to make dinner for [our] team and bring it over to the team hotel and have dinner with you guys," Columbine coach Matt Plitnick said. "At first, I thought that doesn't make any sense because we should be doing stuff for you. Even where they were in their recovery process and healing, they wanted to do something for us. It was just awesome and a great time. On Thursday, we went down and quietly paid our respects to the school. It was quite moving."
Plitnick is a native of Westchester County, New York, so he is familiar with the area as a player at Scarsdale. One of Plitnick's assistant coaches who is also a teacher took a trip to Newtown in January ago to talk about the tragedy. The Columbine lacrosse team was already planning a trip to the area so the plans for a visit to Newtown were finalized.
The trip was first reported by the Journal News (N.Y.).
On the trip, Columbine played three New York teams: Yorktown, Fordham Prep and John Jay-Cross River.
"We weren't really going to judge our trip out here on wins and losses, although, of course, we wanted to win them all," Plitnick said. "We wanted to be competitive and we wanted to get better and gain confidence. After each game, my guys were like, 'these guys are good and everything, but we're not that far off at all.' That's what they really learned about themselves."
The experience will go a long way when Columbine gets back in to league play. Plitnick said the league is as wide-open in the 12 years he has been in Colorado.
The Northwest Invitational at Mercer Island (Wash.) has become one of the most elite lacrosse tournaments on the West Coast. This year, the tournament had 16 teams from Nevada, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, which included all of the state champions.
"It was awesome," Mercer Island coach Ian O'Hearn said. "It always depends on the weather. And this year, we've had three sunny days."
Local power Bellevue flexed its muscle as one of the top teams in the region with several impressive victories. In the final game of the tournament, the Wolverines knocked off Nevada's defending state champion, Palo Verde, 9-2. Bellevue opened a 6-1 lead at the half and locked down Palo Verde's attack throughout the game. Simon Jenkin, Hank Bethke, Cole Johnson and Campbell Alexiff led Bellevue with two goals each.
Bellevue (2-0) and Claremont (B.C., 4-0) were the only teams to go unbeaten in the tournament. The Canadian teams finished 6-2, Oregon was 6-10, Nevada, 7-5, and Washington was 5-7.
Some other scores were: Sunset (Ore.) beat Skyline (Wash.) 8-6, Portland Jesuit (Ore.) beat Lake Washington (Wash.) 11-7 and Henderson (Nev.) beat Bainbridge (Wash.) 11-4.
Also, Lake Oswego (Ore.) beat New Westminster (B.C.) 9-8, Claremont (B.C.) dropped Lincoln (Ore.) 16-6 and Lakeridge (Ore.) knocked off Centennial (Nev.) 12-6.
Foothill gets big win
The Foothill-Santa Ana and La Costa Canyon game is one of the best in California. This year, Santa Ana came away with a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory on a goal by Conner Vail, avenging an overtime loss to the Mavericks last season.
La Costa Canyon scored three consecutive times to open the game. Santa Ana scored twice in the second quarter and trailed by a goal at halftime. Santa Ana tied the game in the third quarter, while holding La Costa Canyon scoreless. The teams traded goals in the fourth quarter, and needed extra time to determine the winner. In the overtime Austin Babb won the draw, and then Santa Ana got a nice inside look and finish by Vail, off a Warren Case alley dodge.
"We have a great rivalry with La Costa Canyon. Both programs have a nice championship history [in San Diego and Orange County] and both teams seem to always peak at playoff time," Santa Ana coach Jon Fox said. "The FHS/LCC game is sort of the jump start of each season in a way. We got them this year in overtime, but last year they got us in overtime. It's always a great match up."
Fox's team has been tough defensively all season, allowing more than 10 goals just once in 11 games. The team goal is to limit the opposition to two goals per quarter.
"We work as a team to help accomplish this goal, and it really has been a complete team effort," Fox said. "Strong goalie play and a senior lead defense has helped us accomplish this, along with high percentage draw controls from sophomore specialist Austin Babb."
Leading the way on offense this year has been attackmen Nate Marano (sophomore) and Cameron Stone (senior) along with junior midfielders Ryan Falbo and Warren Case. Fox said the unsung hero's have been the short stick defensive midfield play of Mason Rosenau (senior), Chris Skillman (junior), Jack Gilchrist (senior) and Colin Cummins (senior).
Fox has put together a challenging schedule with games against some of the top teams in California and plays a couple of tough, non-conference games against Massachusetts teams Noble & Greenough, Wellesley and Medfield.
"We try and schedule against as many top teams as we can from coast to coast," Fox said. "We are fortunate to have a pool of great teams in NorCal and SoCal to go against and are excited to have opportunity to play some of the best in the Boston area this year as well. It not only gives the students a bigger perspective about lacrosse but it leads to some very exciting play and when you give the players big challenges and adversity they have an opportunity to grow as players and people."