A new year of lacrosse always means new teams here in Washington as our favorite sport just keeps growing.  The WHSBLA has now expanded to the Eastern side of the state and this year teams from Wenatchee, Selah (Yakima) and Three Rivers (Tri-Cities) will compete in Division II.  A new program has also formed up North as former Whatcom coach, Greg Hill led the spawning of Skagit Valley, centered around the Mt. Vernon and Burlington communities.

 

28 programs now reside in Division II and here is how they will be aligned:

 

Olympic Conference

Evergreen Conference

Skagit Conference

Cascade Conference

King’s Way

Blanchet

Lynnwood

Eastside Catholic

Klahowya

Nathan Hale

Mukilteo

Franklin

North Kitsap

Overlake

North County

Highline

Port Angeles

Redmond

San Juan

Lake Tapps

South Kitsap

Roosevelt

Skagit Valley

Sammamish

Stadium

Snohomish

Stanwood

Selah

Tacoma

Wenatchee

Whatcom

Three Rivers

 

The top 4 teams in each conference will qualify for the 16-team, Division II, State Championship Tournament.

The bracket can be found on the WHSBLA website: click here

 

Now, on to the good stuff…

 

Division II Previews:

(In Alphabetical Order)

 

BLANCHET

The Braves are hoping to make an impact in DII this year as they return all but three players from a team that went 5-5 last season with three losses by two or less to playoff teams. They will be led by super sophomore, Dylan Evans at midfield and junior defensemen, Noble Woods. 

 

EASTSIDE CATHOLIC

Eastside Catholic surprised many by making it into the second round of the playoffs in their first season of varsity lacrosse.  This year there is high aspirations as they return all but two players from that team.  Led by senior midfielders, Andrew and David Carlton, and by preseason All League defender, Robert Pfluger, the Crusaders are in position to go deep into the playoffs this year.

 

FRANKLIN

This will be a rebuilding year for Franklin as they graduated seven players from last year’s team.  Senior Midfielder Gabriel Young will be leading the way for Franklin this season.

 

HIGHLINE

With new coach Loy Kalepo, eight sophomores returning, and a handful of juniors and seniors, this looks to be Highlines’s best chance to pick up some W’s.  Highline will rely heavily on seniors Blake Meng and Nathen Pekonen to score this season.

 

KING’S WAY

King’s Way returns over 80% of its offensive output from last year, including junior Brock Beall at midfield. The defense will be anchored by Eric Jones, and the midfield will get a lift with the addition of junior, Parker Dotsey. King’s Way should definitely be in the hunt this season for a playoff spot.

 

KLAHOWYA

Klahowya will look for offensive output from midfielders Danny Zimny and Cody Hertenstein now that Karl Neumann has graduated.  Senior goalie, Chad Reeder will anchor a defense that graduated all three starters from last year’s playoff team, but don’t think that this is a rebuilding year.  Klahowya always makes a run for the playoffs!

 

LAKE TAPPS

The Titans look to be mighty this year with 22 seniors.  This is one of the deeper teams in the league and should make their presence known come playoff time.  The Titans have a three headed offensive monster in senior attackmen, David Snyder and Skyler Cichy, and sophomore utility player Andy Russell.

 

LYNNWOOD

The Tigers will be Girgus strong, but that is not the only strength they will bring this year.  After playing two years at the Division I  level, Lynnwood will have many players with top level experience.  Junior midfielders, Trey Knowles and Alex Tindall both put up decent numbers last year in DI and are ready to lead this explosive offense.

 

MUKILTEO

Many coaches have picked Mukilteo as the team to beat in Division II.  They have a very talented, junior heavy team and are hungry for wins.  Interestingly enough, the Knights have yet to have a winning season, but that is surely about to change.  Juniors, Joey Gray, and Peter Mueller will lead one of the top defenses in the state.  John Linari and Riley Wanzer, also juniors, will lead the midfield and junior, Nate Regan will be tough to stop at attack.

 

NATHAN HALE

Losing 60% of the offensive production from last year’s team shouldn’t slow down the Raiders. With the strong attack duo of sophomore, David Shiplett, junior, Ian Harvey, and senior midfielder Sam Osborn, Hale won’t have any trouble finding the back of the net.  Junior keeper, Spencer Adams, will make opposing teams work for goals.

 

NORTH COUNTY

The Cavaliers face a rebuilding year as the overall look of the team is new, bringing back just five players with varsity experience.  Senior goalie, Gunnar Groothuis will lead an athletic defense, and junior utility player, Eric Conner returns to lead an inexperienced offense.  The return of senior Gage Schulze at attack is an added bonus.

 

NORTH KITSAP

After taking a year off to get the numbers up, North Kitsap will be hungry to step on the field again

. 

OVERLAKE

The Owls graduated nine, but return their three top scorers and junior goalie, Chap Grubb.  The attack will be led by stud senior, George Dolack, and junior Devon Schmidt.  Greg Safadago is a ground ball hog at midfield and Overlake always has a strong defensive team.  Look for them to be in the hunt again this season.

 

PORT ANGELES

The Roughriders have a senior strong team led by midfielders Dustin Walsh and Kane Swanson, attackman Kade Brumbaugh and defender John Latson.  The senior leadership may be a big factor in close games and the playoffs.

 

REDMOND

With 27 players returning, a strong freshman class, and many offensive threats, it’s no wonder why Redmond is considered one of the best teams in Division II.  Senior Tyler Daugherty will lead the offense again this season, but the midfield is where the depth should sit.  Sophomore, Jake Bernstein and junior, Harrison Valentine will be tough to stop.  The defense will be strong with senior Sean Shewey, but can they overcome the loss of all-league goalie, John Olin?

 

ROOSEVELT

The Roughriders have a lot to prove after going winless in Division I last year.  Graduating 8 seniors makes that task even harder.  Good thing they have senior David Madsen at attack.  He has a knack for finding the back of the net.  The supporting cast isn’t too bad either; seniors Moussa Gloyd and Bobby Walker will lead a core of new players at midfield.

 

SAMMAMISH

Returning all but four players from last year, Sammamish is ready to make a statement in 2009.  Senior defender, John Kelly, and the attack trio of junior Alex Cornell, and sophomores Brian and Chris Headland lead a young but talented team.

 

SAN JUAN

With senior Isaac Taylor at attack, junior Forest Dayton at midfield and junior goalie, Calin Meher leading the defense, San Juan has the potential to make strides towards being one of the elite teams in Division II.

 

SELAH

Selah joins the league as one of four new teams, but don’t over look this squad. Selah has depth at both the midfield and attack positions. The attack will be strong with seniors, Wouter Daemen and Wade Floyd.  Senior, Shawn Thompson will lead the defense.

 

SKAGIT VALLEY

The Flyers are another new team to the league.  They do have some experience in former Stanwood attackman, Cody Schwab leading the way.  Don’t overlook utility players Kyle Mack and Blake Berg, both of which will be playing multiple positions this year.

 

SNOHOMISH

The Panthers return all but five players from last year’s roster, but those five players accounted for 60% of the scoring.  That means senior midfielder, Justin Steranka and junior midfielder, Nathan Wirtz will have to pick up that scoring load.  Senior defender, Geoffery Hersch will be leading a talented and deep defense.

 

SOUTH KITSAP

The Wolves only return nine players from last year’s varsity roster.  Junior midfielder, David Gibson will have his hands full helping the team this season.

 

STADIUM

Graduating only one senior from a 9-2 team means Stadium is primed for a playoff run.  Senior attackman, Alex Lineweaver will lead the offense while seniors, Mark Ruetter and  Spencer Hjaseth lead a strong and experienced defense.

 

STANWOOD

The Spartans lost a couple of players to the new program in Skagit Valley, but still return some potent offensive talent.  Senior midfield, Jesstin Perez leads the way and will be supported by senior attackman, Tucker Anderson.  Senior goalie, Justin Jackson is the defensive rock.

 

TACOMA

Tacoma is returning over 85% of its offensive production, including senior midfielder, Matt Hilger and senior attackman, Bryce Johnson.  Don’t forget about the senior defensemen trio of Andy Fuller, Nick Truckey and Jack Wigboldy.  The Lions are ready to return to the Division II, State Championship game.

 

THREE RIVERS

Three Rivers will be joining the league this season with high aspirations.  Last year they played a handful of games at the junior varsity level and this season they are ready to make the leap to the varsity ranks!

 

WENATCHEE

Wenatchee, the fourth new team to the league, also played a handful of junior varisty games a season ago, including a win over Three Rivers.  They are in arguably the toughest division in Division II, but are ready for the challenge.

 

WHATCOM

The Warriors have an array of talent returning, including junior attackman, Daniel Hernandez and senior utility player, Patrick Cassidy. Junior, Peter Funston is the only returning defender in front of senior goalie, Trevor Weidenbacher.

 

 

2009 - Division II - Preseason All-State Team

 

 

1st Team

2nd Team

3nd Team

ATT

Tyler Dougherty SR, Redmond

David Madsen SR, Roosevelt

Cameron Girgus SOPH, Lynnwood

 

George Dolack SR, Overlake

Devon Schmidt JR, Overlake

Jordan Freissen SR, King’s Way

 

Alex Lineweaver SR, Stadium

Nate Regan JR, Mukilteo

David Snyder SR, Lake Tapps

 

 

 

 

MID

Dylan Evans JR, Blanchet

Jake Bernstein SOPH, Redmond

Forest Dayton JR, San Juan

 

Riley Wanzer JR, Mukilteo

Dustin Walsh SR, Port Angeles

Harrison Valentine JR, Redmond

 

John Linari JR, Mukilteo

Brock Beall JR, King’s Way

Sam Osborn SR, Nathan Hale

 

Nathan Wirtz JR, Snohomish

Matt Hilger SR, Tacoma

Daniel Hernandez JR, Whatcom

 

 

 

 

DEF

Robert Pfluger SR, Eastside Catholic

Peter Mueller JR, Mukilteo

Noble Woods JR, Blanchet

 

Jack Wigboldy SR, Tacoma

Geoffery Hersch SR, Snohomish

John Latson SR, Port Angeles

 

Joey Gray JR, Mukilteo

John Kelly SR, Sammamish

Andy Fuller SR, Tacoma

 

Spencer Hjaseth, SR, Stadium

Sean Shewey SR, Redmond

Matt Ruetter, SR, Stadium

 

 

 

 

G

Spencer Adams JR, Nathan Hale

Chad Reeder SR, Klahowya

Gunnar Groothuis SR, North County

 

 

Lacrosse The Country…

Recognize these two WHSBLA alumns?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need a hint or two?  Both graduated in 2008, were All-State players and part of Team WA

 

Lacrosse Four Thought…

Who is on your Preseason DII All-League Team?

What are your picks for the Division II final four?

When will lacrosse become a WIAA sanctioned sport?

Why has Division II been excluded from the All-American selections?

 

Feed us your thoughts.  We’ll include the best comments/quotes in next week’s Sunday Stroll.  EMAIL: TheSundayStroll@gmail.com

 

Fans Sound Off…

(The best comments from last week’s Lacrosse Four Thought…)

 

“Preseason all-state picks are always interesting cause they are obviously based on the previous year and guys that are still known that haven’t graduated.  Will be interesting what unknown guys step up and we are hearing about by season’s end.  My bet is there will be some Bainbridge, Mercer or Issaquah name you don’t see now.  Interesting that you don’t see any Bainbridge or Issaquah kids on the 2nd team list when both programs have had 1st and 2nd team guys each of the past few years.”

 

“All-Americans in ’09?  Gotta think they will come from that preseason 1st team list.  If they stay healthy it seems like Snow and Carr are locks… the third seems wide open.”