March 1, 2010… the start of the 2010 boy’s lacrosse season in the state of Washingtongotta love it!  And you know what else that means?  That’s right, time to start Strolling!

 

At the start of the 2009 season we asked the question, “When will Division I expand beyond 14 teams?”  That question was answered this off-season as Division I is now home to 20 of the state’s top programs.  Seven of the eight Division II quarterfinalists from 2009 were reassigned to Division I.  Redmond stayed put in Division II as their program was split in half and helped spawn the birth of the new program at Lake Washington.  In addition, Garfield has been reassigned to Division II which leaves Division I with an even 20 teams.  These 20 teams have been split into two geographic conferences.  A look at the schedule shows that teams will play each team in their own conference once and play half of the teams in the other conference.

 

Enough with the chatter, here is the Division I Preview!

 

Division I Previews:

(In Alphabetical Order within each conference)

 

SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE

Bainbridge Island

This might be as close as it gets to a “rebuilding year” for the Spartans after graduating a stellar group in 2009 that included an All-State performer at each position in attackman, Sam Snow, midfielder, Kevin Nguyen, defenseman, Dugan McDermott and netminder, Bryce Stevenson.  Don’t feel sorry for the Spartans though, they still have plenty of talent and has history has taught us they always have young guns step up into roles and keep the program amongst the league’s best.  The top returners and strength for the Spartans sits on the offensive end.  Senior attack, Jordan Wagner is the team’s top returning scorer.  Junior, Cameron Parker will most likely see time at attack and midfield and should be one of 2010’s best players.  Parker is already garnering attention from collegiate scouts.  Bainbridge must replace a lot on the defensive end but will fill in with a slew of juniors that are all capable and all saw a bit of varsity time last season. 

 

Curtis

The Vikings graduated eight from the 2009 squad but return several from what was truly a young squad a year ago.  However, the obvious question is how will they fare without all-everything midfielder Landon Carr. Carr was All-State performer for three straight years and after an All-American senior season is now playing at the University of Maryland.  The answer starts with this year’s All-American nominee, senior attackman, Taylor Dean.  Dean is earning his own interest from college coaches and must be the leader in 2010. He will get support from a trio of solid juniors, Colby Carr (Landon’s younger brother), Riley Moody and Dillon Cavanaugh.  Senior, Alex Anderson is the top returning defenseman and junior, Mitchell Homeyer returns in net.  The Vikings will look to make a return trip to the state semifinals, but it remains to be seen if they can do it without the older Carr.

 

King’s Way

Lacrosse is growing quickly in southwest Washington as evident by the relative quick growth and success of the King’s Way program.  King’s Way itself is a small 1B school, but the program draws from schools at all classification levels around the greater Vancouver area.  After reaching the Division II semifinals a season ago, King’s Way returns 18 players from that squad looking to make waves at the Division I level.  Senior, Brock Beall is top returning scorer and the physical midfielder has already committed to play lacrosse at Dominican University in California.  Look for King’s way to surprise and at the least, they should definitely snag a spot in the 12 team playoff field.

 

Lake Tapps

The Titans have an extremely tough assignment in 2010 after graduating an astounding 21 seniors from last year’s playoff team.  Senior midfielder, Jeremiah Davenport is the top returning player and point scorer.  He will be called upon heavily to lead a young and inexperienced squad as they inevitably take a few lumps in their first season at the Division I level.

 

Puyallup

New Head Coach, Roger Morris looks to bring back the success he had when coaching many of the current Panthers in middle school.  Senior, Zach Steedman may be the best keeper in the state this year.  He will have help on the defensive end from fellow seniors, Ky Allen and Thomas Brook.  Brook is somewhat of a late bloomer and has been turning heads this past off-season.  Senior attackmen, Kiel Morris and Jeff Tungsvik are the team’s top two returning scorers for a team that should be in the playoff mix.

 

Seattle Prep

WHSBLA alumns themselves, former Eastside Raven, Ian Lee and former Curtis Viking, Tom Gibbon take over the Co-Head coaching duties at Seattle Prep.  Gone are the Panthers top two scorers as Arthur Stacey and David Schoettler have graduated.  In addition, Prep graduated 10 others and so it seems apparent that this may be a challenging, rebuilding year.  The Panthers will be led by juniors, Peter Christiansen and Alex Vincent while fellow junior, Jack Maurer is a solid netminder to back the defense.

 

Stadium

The Tigers did graduate eight players including two of their top three scorers, but second leading scorer, Bryce Busey is back.  Now a senior, Busey will team with senior, Martin Park as a formidable midfield duo.  Martin’s brother Kevin is the top returner on defense and junior goalkeeper, Drew Thomas has started since his freshman year.  Though the step up to Division I will prove challenging, Stadium seems to have a good core and a favorable schedule to challenge for one of the final playoff spots in the Southwest Conference.

 

Tacoma

The Lions graduated 11 and lost another to transferring schools so 2010 could be a challenging year for another Division II call up.  Junior midfielders, Giavanni Natalizio and Alec Stewart are the team’s top returning scorers.  Tacoma must find a way to replace five poles and a goalkeeper lost to graduation on the defensive end.

 

Tahoma

The bad news for the Bears: they graduated stud midfielder, Stone Connell.  The good news: despite their 1-12 league record, three of these losses were three goals or less and they return 16 players with varsity experience including three of their top five scorers from that squad.  The Bears should be much improved and they also have a favorable schedule (they do not have to face Bellevue, Issaquah or Mercer Island), which should give them a shot at making the playoffs. 

 

Vashon

Senior defenseman, Austin Franks, is one of the state’s top defenders.  There is a chance he might be the ONLY senior on the Vashon roster.  Junior attackman, Gregor Davidheiser will lead a slew of young guns on the offensive end as 8 of the top 10 scorers graduated.  Vashon has a tough schedule and a lot of youth, a recipe that will make it tough to find the playoffs.

 

 

NORTHEAST CONFERENCE

Bellevue

An argument could be made that Bellevue’s starting six on the offensive end will be second to none.  Seniors, Ryan Deal and Brett Manella join sophomore, Blake Samuel at attack. The midfield is a trio of seniors in All-American candidate, Cole Nordstrom, Eric Omri and Thomas Zervas.  Don’t sleep on the Wolverines defensive end either.  Senior long-stick, Alex Manella should be one of the league’s best and sophomore, Sam Leggett plays much bigger than his sophomore status.  Bellevue last made the semifinals in 2007, but this could be the year the Wolverines reach beyond that.  Expectations are big, but they have the talent to produce.  Nordstrom has already committed to play NCAA ball at the University of Denver next season.

 

Eastlake

2010 could be the year the Wolves get back to the playoffs (haven’t been since 2006 in Division II).  Despite winning only two games a year ago, Eastlake lost no one to graduation and returning all that experience could pay of big this year.  A senior class of 14 is led by defenseman, Danny Vais, midfielder, Stuart Bangasser and attackman, Sean Kinzer. 

 

Eastside Catholic

The Crusaders dominated most of Division II last season until falling at the end in the title game.  They may be hard pressed to repeat that performance having joined the ranks of Division I.  It will be even tougher given the key losses to graduation and transfer; nine players graduated and two would be starters have transferred back to public school.  Junior, Kyle Decker returns to lead the Crusader offense while senior, Robert Pfluger anchors the defense.  Former assistant, Nick Landen takes the reigns as the Head Coach and hopes to also get big production from junior midfielder, Michael Rambaldini.

 

Issaquah

The two time defending state champions return six of ten starters that helped capture the 2009 crown.  The entire attack unit returns led by senior, Todd Jones and junior, Jake Fritz.  Eastside Catholic transfer and sophomore, O’Neill Hughes should start in goal and more than adequately fill in for the two-headed goalie duo that filled the cage last year.  This helps form a solid defensive unit as Issaquah returns every close defensemen on the roster.  They did lose one key defensive piece in All-State long-stick, Connor McClain, who was simply all over the field a year ago.  In order to make another run at the title, the purple and gold will have to find some replacements in the midfield as gone is the all-star trio of Director, Goldstein and Goodman whom had each started since their sophomore year.  Junior, Kevin Powers is the top candidate to lead the charge.

 

Lakeside

The Lions missed the playoffs in 2009, but return their top two scorers.  In fact, they may have the best midfield duo in the state in seniors, Sten Jernudd and Hector Rhodes.  Jernudd was hurt much of last season but is finally healthy and has committed to play NCAA ball at Cornell next years.  Rhodes is just as dangerous and though not as big physically, may be the better shooter of the two.  If new coach, Chris Hartley, can find some support for the big two Lakeside will find itself back in the playoff mix.

 

Mercer Island

After a year away from the finals in 2008, the Islanders made a trip back to the finals in 2009 but haven’t won the title since winning three in a row from 2004-2006.  In 2010, they return a line-up with the talent to reclaim the title as they graduated just six and only four that played any key role.  The huge loss is the obvious, All-American attackman, Daniel Shields.  Last year’s title game showed they are a different offense without him, but senior midfielder, Jon Wettack and Daniel’s younger brother Matt, on attack, will lead a solid crew that should be well rounded this year.  The strength of the Islanders is on the defensive side of the ball.  Hands down, Mercer return the best defensive unit in the state with seniors, Conner Beckwith, Connor Raffety and Trevor Reed all back for one final year.  Senior, Hap Giraud once again mans the nets. 

 

Mukilteo

The Knights only lost three to graduation, but also lost a few to the formation of the new Silver Lake program.  Mukilteo may lack some depth, but there is certainly no lack of talent.  Senior long-stick, Riley Wanzer and senior attackman, John Linari, are two of the state’s best but Mukilteo struggled last year when Linari went down with an injury.  Mukilteo has the ability to make noise in Division I and are definitely playoff contenders. 

 

Northshore

After a very successful inaugural season in Division I in which Northshore qualified for the playoffs, the Wisman boys are back for one final season together in effort to reach deeper into the post-season.   Big brother, Taylor Wisman is a crafty left handed midfielder that is always in the right place and has excellent vision.  Baby brother, Foster is the man child.  The big right hander is a physical presence whom can run people over and blister shots on net.  The question is: Do they have enough role players surrounding them?  It will be tough to replace the graduated Stuart Dransfield in net and Northshore needs some help on the defensive side, but look for them to push for a playoff spot again.

 

Overlake

The 2009 Division II champions have brought their game to the Division I level and have the talent to contend in 2010.  They may not quite have the depth to challenge for the Division I state title, but you can be sure they will be in the playoff hunt.  The Owls did graduate five seniors, but the only key loss is former attackman, George Dolack.  The core of the championship team will be back on the field led by the Tweedie-Yates brothers in the midfield and the Remington brothers on the defensive end.  Overlake has a favorable schedule not having to face Bainbridge or Curtis in the regular season and if they can find a way to steal some wins in their own conference they just might put themselves in great position to make a post-season run.

 

Skyline

Gone are the last few key players left from the team that reached the semifinals in 2008.  The Spartans are ready to start fresh in 2010 under new coach, Adam Kurtenbach.  The Spartans have a good foundation to build on as they return the most dominant face-off guy in the league in senior, Spencer Matches.  Junior attackman, Brennan West looks to become the team leader on offense while the defensive side of the ball will blend several young, athletic, relatively unknown defensemen.  Senior, Daniel “Haps” Siel return in the cage to help quarterback the young D.  Skyline has a tough schedule but should be in the chase for a playoff spot.

 

 

 

2010 - Division I - Preseason All-State Teams

First Team

Second Team

Third Team

A

Taylor Dean

12

Curtis

A

John Linari

12

Mukilteo

A

Gregor Davidheiser

11

Vashon

A

Todd Jones

12

Issaquah

A

Jake Fritz

11

Issaquah

A

Henry Deery-Schmidt

11

Bainbridge

A

Jordan Wagner

12

Bainbridge

A

Brennan West

11

Skyline

A

Connor Bernal

10

Mercer Island

M

Cole Nordstrom

12

Bellevue

M

Cameron Parker

11

Bainbridge

M

Thomas Zervais

12

Bellevue

M

Taylor Wisman

12

Northshore

M

Foster Wisman

11

Northshore

M

Brock Beall

12

King’s Way

M

Hector Rhodes

12

Lakeside

M

Sky Tweedie-Yates

12

Overlake

M

Spencer Matches

12

Skyline

M

Stenn Jernudd

12

Lakeside

M

Kevin Powers

11

Issaquah

M

Kyle Decker

11

Eastside Catholic

LSM

Riley Wanzer

12

Mukilteo

LSM

Alex Manella

12

Bellevue

LSM

Thomas Brook

12

Puyallup

D

Conner Beckwith

12

Mercer Island

D

Danny Vais

12

Eastlake

D

Alex Anderson

12

Curtis

D

Connor Raffety

12

Mercer Island

D

Tyler Lucas

11

Issaquah

D

Austin Remington

12

Overlake

D

Austin Franks

12

Vashon

D

Sam Leggett

10

Bellevue

D

Kevin Park

11

Stadium

G

Hap Giraud

12

Mercer Island

G

Zach Steedman

12

Puyallup

G

O'Neil Hughes

10

Issaquah

 

 

 

Lacrosse The Country…

Several WHSBLA Alumns are off to great starts this year in the collegiate ranks…

·         Fairfield freshman, Sam Snow  (Bainbridge) was named the ECAC rookie of the week and has 2g, 2a in two games.

·         Maryland sophomore, Drew Snider (Garfield) has posted 3 goals in two wins for the Terps

 

 

Lacrosse Four Thought…

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

What are your pre-season picks for the three All-American slots?

Which of the former Division II teams will make the Division I playoffs in 2010?

Will the NFHS ever adopt the new NCAA stick specifications?

 

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