The start of the 2009 boy’s lacrosse season here in our great state brings with it a new feature on our WHSBLA website.  Every Sunday, we’ll take a walk around the league catching you up on any highlight worthy performance from the past week, preparing you for any must see games in the week to come, soliciting commentary from you, the reader, and discussing hot topics in high school lacrosse.  Think of it as a WHSBLA weekly blog.

 

So, without further ado, here is the Division I Preview and some other tasty morsels for you all to chew on.

 

Division I Previews:

(In Alphabetical Order)

 

Bainbridge Island

The Spartans won 32 consecutive in-state games over the span of two years before falling in last season’s state championship.  No doubt they will be motivated to get back to their winning ways as they look to make a 3rd consecutive trip to the finals.  Bainbridge has the perfect quartet of seniors to lead them, one at each position.  Sam Snow is clearly the best attackman in the state and has already committed to play NCAA Division I ball at Fairfield next year.  Kevin Nguyen will lead the midfield, Dugan McDermott anchors the defense and Bryce Stevenson will look to stand on his head again between the pipes.  Despite the return of McDermott and Stevenson, the biggest question for Bainbridge lies on the defensive end as the 3-year starting trio of Gilbreath, Weisner and Burroughs has moved on.  The Spartans usually fill in adequately and look for 2009 to be no different.

 

Bellevue

Despite the loss of two all-state performers (Rusty Haehl and Chris Mutzel), Bellevue returns several young offensive weapons that pushed Issaquah to the brink in last year’s quarterfinal round.  Senior, Kyle Mutzel and juniors, Cole Nordstrom, Thomas Zervais and Ryan Deal give the Wolverines plenty of firepower.  Nordstrom made Team Washington this past summer and is getting attention as a rising junior.  On the defensive side, senior, Al Veitas assumes the starting role in cage and junior, Alex Manella looks to lead a young revamped defense.  Bellevue is definitely a playoff team.  Should the crop of juniors continue to mature as they did from mid-season to playoffs last year as sophomores, the Wolverines could make a push into the top 4.

 

Curtis

Having already signed with the University of Maryland, senior midfielder, Landon Carr is everyone’s preseason pick for All-American.  Carr certainly needs to carry the load, but the Vikings have a capable supporting cast.  Fellow senior, Jamie Yergler earned 2nd team all-state honors as a sophomore in 2007 before a slightly down year in 2008, so he is clearly a threat.  Senior, Shawn Blaisdell, junior, Taylor Dean and sophomores, Colby Carr and Dillon Cavanaugh should also contribute.  The loss of face-off specialist Bryce Sheldon hurts but if Curtis can get the touches on offense they certainly have the athletes to put the ball in the net.  The Vikings will be playoff bound in ’09 and if they can come together on the defensive end they have a shot to make it back to the semifinals for the first time since the days of their last All-American, Todd Thorpe in 1998.

 

Eastlake

The Wolves are now two years removed from a solid senior class of ’07 that took the Division II crown as juniors in ’06.  Still somewhat in the midst of rebuilding, Eastlake will be lead by a slew of athletic juniors with unproven potential.  Ryan Sikma (Attack), Stuart Bangasser (Midfield) and Danny Vais (Defense) could be the best of this junior class.  Wolves must find a replacement in goal upon the graduation of three year starter Andrew Doherty.  Eastlake should improve on last season’s 1-12 record, but the playoffs might be a stretch.

 

Garfield

2009 appears to be a rebuilding year for the Bulldogs after four year stretch that produced three semifinal appearances and three All-Americans.  Garfield graduated 11 players from a fairly thin roster and now return only 7 players with varsity experience from last year’s squad.  The loss of All-Everything midfielder, Caldwell Rohrbach will certainly be felt and the Bulldogs must find someone to replace two year-starter and All-State performer, Simon Hudson, in goal.  The strength for Garfield looks to be on the defensive end where they return three experienced poles in seniors, Jesse Austin and Evan Rood, and junior, Jack Callagahan.  Bulldogs have their work cut out for them if they look to return to the playoffs in 2009.

 

Issaquah

The purple and gold broke through in 2008, claiming the program’s first Division I state title on the backs of a solid senior class.  The class of ’09 has plenty left in the tank though as they look to prove themselves as title contenders and return to the finals for the fourth time in five years.  The senior midfield trio of Jake Director, Riley Goodman and Jordan Goldstein spearhead the offense while senior LSM, Connor McClain will have to lead a young unproven defense.  If the defense can in fact step up, look for Issaquah to be playing late in May once again.

 

Lakeside

The Lions reached the playoffs a year ago by winning a tie-break game in overtime.  Despite graduating 14 players, Lakeside looks to make it back to the playoffs on the back of a strong junior class.  Sten Jernudd just recently committed to playing NCAA Division I ball at Cornell and at 6’5” will be a physical presence roaming the midfield.  Fellow junior, Hector Rhodes helps form a solid 1-2 punch on offense while senior, Matt Raine leads the defense.

 

Mercer Island

2008 marked the first time since 2000 that Mercer failed to reach the state finals so you can be sure the Islanders are hungry.  The Islanders return 8 of 10 starters, but junior netminder, Hap Giraud is more then capable of replacing the departed Adam Bowen.  Senior, Daniel Shields return at attack and will be complimented by another Mahony (Doug) as well as junior midfielders, Steven Taylor and Jon Wettack.  You should recognize those last names as all three had older brothers that played on Islander state champion teams from 04-06.  Defensively, the Twin Towers will still stand in front of Giraud and both of them (Conner Beckwith and Connor Raffety) are two of the best returning defensemen in the state.  No doubt the Islanders should reach the semis for the thirteenth consecutive year and have enough overall talent to win it all.

 

Northshore

The 2008 Division II champions have brought their game to the Division I level and have the talent to contend in 2009.  They may not quite be ready to challenge for the state title, but you can be sure they will be in the playoff mix.  Northshore returns all but four from last year’s squad including the Wisman boys, Taylor and Foster.  Senior attackman, Bowen Hadley has already committed to playing NCAA Division III ball and will also be a factor on offense.  Senior netminder, Stuart Dransfield brings experience in net, but it is the defense in front of him that has to step up if they are to compete in Division I.

 

Puyallup

Former Army netminder, Nick LoRusso takes over as the Head Coach for a Panther squad that narrowly missed the playoffs in their first year in Division I.  Puyallup lost in overtime to Lakeside in a tie-break game to end their 2008 season.  Gone is standout  and Team Washington member, JT Tungsvik as well as four other key starters from a year ago.  However, Puyallup still has its own army of talent to challenge for the playoffs again in 2009.  Seniors, Sean Gorey and Nick Moser must take over the scoring load on offense.  Junior, Zach Steedman has potential to be an All-State player in net and has perfect coach to help show him the ropes.

 

Seattle Prep

The 2008 Division II runner-up made it all the way to the DII title game before falling to Northshore.  Coach Mirsky has done an excellent job bringing the once proud program back to Division I after a down year in ’07 and the subsequent year in Division II a season ago.  Good news for the Panthers, all major offensive components are back.  Senior attackman, Arthur Stacey and senior midfielder, David Schoettler are explosive offensive weapons and both have committed to playing NCAA Division III ball at Wesleyan and St. Lawrence respectively.  If Prep can stand tall on the defensive end, the Panthers could make some real noise back in Division I this season.

 

Skyline

2008 was Skyline’s best season to date in the program’s relatively short existence (3 years) as the Spartans reached the semifinals.  Last season may be hard to duplicate with the departures of All-State performers Riley Gervais and Lachlan Murphy.  Despite the loss of Gervais on defense, the rest of the crew is still together and the strength of the team will lie on the defensive side of the ball.  Senior, Calvin Wiley and sophomore, Brennan West will carry the load offensively.   

 

Tahoma

The 2008 Maple Valley Vandals finished fifth and narrowly lost to Skyline in the quarterfinals.  After graduating fourteen players, this year’s squad looks to rebuild with a new look and a new name, the Tahoma Bears.  Sophmore, Justin Hanson has huge shoes to fill as the biggest loss to graduation has to be four year starter Connor Fischesser in goal.  Nine players with varsity experience return, the best of which might be sophomore, midfielder, Spencer Kerr.

 

Vashon

After a rebuilding year in 2008, Vashon could be ready to challenge for the playoffs again as they return 23 of 26 from last year’s varsity roster.  Junior defenseman, Austin Franks was a Team Washington alternate this summer and senior, Ross Bowers has potential to be one of the league’s dominant midfielders.  Bowers will get help on offense from the younger of the Davidheiser brothers, Gregor.

 

 

2009 - Division I - Preseason All-State Team

 

 

Lacrosse The Country…

The Baltimore Sun released an article discussing the college lacrosse recruiting craze.  The article brings to light some interesting points that aspiring college lacrosse players and parents should be aware of.  Read the entire article here:  http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/lacrosse/bal-sp.preston21feb21,0,3860063.column

 

Check out the lineup for this year’s Northwest Invitational:  http://www.northwestinvitational.com/

 

Lacrosse Four Thought…

Who did we leave out of the Preseason All-State Team?

What are your picks for the final four?

When will Division I expand beyond 14 teams?

Where will this year’s All-Americans reside?

 

We’ll give a shout out to the best emails of the week and include your comments/quotes in next week’s Sunday Stroll.

Time to hear from you!  Feed us your thoughts… bring it! 

 

EMAIL: TheSundayStroll@gmail.com