As winter begins to fade and spring approaches, so too does another high school lacrosse season here in Washington.  Many of us begin this season with heavy hearts as we have recently lost members of our lacrosse community.  Issaquah’s Tyler Lucas was involved in a tragic accident that left many in shock and brought the high school community closer than we may have ever seen.  Many teams and individual players will be sporting the TL17 decal in honor of Tyler this season.  You can visit TL17.org for more information.  

 

The 2011 season will be remembered for many reasons and will be marked significant for the WHSBLA as the year we turned 50… no, not 50 years old (the league has only been around since 1978), but 50 programs strong!  That’s right, with the addition of the new Ballard program, the WHSBLA is now home to 50 programs.  Less expansion and less movement than a year ago, but some details you will still want to know: 2010 Division II champion, Lynnwood along with Lake Washington have been reassigned to Division I.  In order to make room for the two and keep balance between conferences, Lakeside was shifted to the Southwest Conference so they could rekindle their natural Metro rivalries with Seattle Prep and Bainbridge.  Though the playoffs are still structured the same there is a change in games that count toward the playoff standing.  This year, no cross-conference games count in the playoff standings.  So, yes, you will still be able to catch Bainbridge vs Mercer Island and other cross-conference rivalries during the regular season but the game will not affect either team’s playoff standing.

 

Let’s hope the snow melts and the sun begins to shine!  Regardless, time to take to the field… here’s your first WHISTLE!!!

 

Division I Previews:

(In Alphabetical Order within each conference)

 

SOUTHWEST CONFERENCE

Bainbridge Island

Many called 2010 a “down” year for the Spartans.  I’m sure most programs would be thrilled to win a conference title and reach the state semifinals, both of which Bainbridge accomplished in 2010.  But, when you’ve spoiled people with 11 state championships and regular appearances in the final game, expectations are always high.  This year, the Spartans have line-up full of talent and experience (potentially at least 14 seniors) that could get them back to the show.  Seniors Cameron Parker (Fairfield), Alex Crane (Air Force) and Quinn McMahon (Providence) are all expected to be on NCAA Division I rosters next spring.  Parker has spent the majority of his career at attack but may run more midfield this season.  Crane is a faceoff specialist with a nose for groundballs and the goal.  McMahon is a super athletic defender with size.  Though Bainbridge does return most of its lineup from a year ago, the Spartans will suffer a bit from two key losses, one from the field and one from the sideline.  Jordan Wagner has moved on and is now playing college ball at Notre Dame de Namur, while former Co-Head Coach, Dejon Hush has taken the helm at the Lake Washington program.  Despite the losses, Bainbridge will be the clear favorite in the Southwest and if they can get production from their supporting cast of seniors (Jacob Goodman (M), Henry Deery- Schmidt (A), Nick Lacy (D) and crew) the Spartans have a legitimate shot to make a run at a state championship.

 

Curtis

The Vikings graduated a huge piece of their offense in all-everything attackman, Taylor Dean.  Dean is now making waves in Southern California at NCAA Division III’s Whittier College.  However, only 3 others graduated alongside Dean leaving plenty of experience returning.  Seniors Dillon Cavanaugh (A), Colby Carr (M) and Mitchell Homeyer (G) should lead the way.  Dean’s younger brother, Brandon, a junior, will also be a key contributor in the midfield and on faceoffs.  Carr will join the Air Force next spring and has the talent to be an All-State performer but the Vikings lack the depth to challenge Bainbridge for the top spot.   Former head coach, Kevin Leary has moved on to Colorado so newcomer Scott Bloom takes charge.  If he can continue the success then look for the Vikings to be right back in the playoffs in 2011.

 

King’s Way

King’s Way found itself playing the role of Cinderella a bit last season.  Everyone kept waiting for their great start to take a nose dive and it never did.   Though they were eventually overtaken by Bainbridge for the top spot in the Southwest, their first season in Division I was a huge success!  The Knights graduated just three, but all three were captains and key contributors (Jordan Goodspeed (A), Brock Beall (M), Parker Dotsey (M)).  Connor Harwood (M) and Eric Hoeffner (D) take over as captains and look to lead a group that includes three talented sophomores that each started as freshmen (Jack Beall (A), Clayton Frank (M), Nick Guinett (D).  The Knights will also be backed by a solid netminder in senior, Max Zandstra.  King’s Way might not have enough to challenge Bainbridge at the top, but they will certainly be in the playoff mix.  Finishing as high as #2 will be a bigger challenge as they won’t sneak up on anybody and must play a more challenging schedule this season. 

 

Lake Tapps

New coach, Louis Luchessi takes over a Titans program that is in year two of rebuilding.  Jeremiah Davenport has moved on to Carthage College, but the good news is that his younger brother, Josh Davenport, returns as the leading scorer from a year ago and only a sophomore.  The Titans should certainly get off the snide this year and notch their first Division I victory, but the playoffs still might be a year away.

 

Lakeside

Lakeside narrowly missed the playoffs in 2010 after losing their final two games of the regular season.  A shift to the Southwest Conference restores some natural rivalries and allows the Lions a fresh start in efforts to reach the playoff this season.  However, that task will be much easier said than done when you consider that they graduated three players that attributed for 130 points last season.  Two of those (Sten Jernudd and Hector Rhodes) are now playing at the next level.  The Lions will be extremely young this season returning only one senior, Andrew Harvey, who was on last year’s roster.

 

Puyallup

Third new head coach in three years as Lawrence Mackey takes over the Panther program.  Mackey has a tough task ahead as Puyallup graduated 13, including Thomas Brook (LSM) and Zach Steedman (G), both All-State performers from a year ago.  The only of their six scorers that is back is attackman, Robert Abbot.  Now a junior, Abbot registered 31 points last season and will have to carry a huge load if the Panthers are to find their way back to the playoffs. 

 

Seattle Prep

Tom Gibbon removes the “Co” from his title and is now the solo head man in charge.  The Panthers missed the playoffs last season but are a good bet to snag a spot this year as they only graduated four from their varsity roster and return their top three scorers in Cassidy Miller, Peter Christiansen and Alex Vincent.  Prep also returns one of the league’s better goalkeepers in senior, Jack Maurer

 

Stadium

Though they graduated two of their top four scorers, the Tigers only graduate four players from a squad that snuck into the playoffs a year ago.  If defense wins championships, then Stadium has a good foundation in one of the league’s best defenders, senior, Kevin Park.  They also have a solid goalie in senior, Drew Thomas.  The Tigers may lack depth but should benefit on the experience of playing with low numbers a season ago.  Look for Stadium to battle for a playoff spot again.

 

Tacoma

After graduating 11 a young Lions squad made the playoffs last year before falling to Skyline.  So, after only graduating 4 entering this season expectations are a bit higher.  The Lions are led by two of the best juniors in the league, attackman Max Jones and defenseman, Zach Fuller.  Jones registered a team high 54 points last season and Fuller is simply a beast of an athlete as he also started for Bellarmine Prep’s football squad that advanced to the state playoffs.  A great showing at the Summer Sizzle (made the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Mercer Island) back in June despite a thin roster has head coach Jimmy Twining aiming big.  If they can stay healthy, Tacoma could legitimately challenge for the second spot and a first round bye but they lack the depth to make a run at Bainbridge.  

 

Tahoma

The Bears graduated just two players and return leading scorer, senior midfielder, Brody Lundquist.  Seniors Mike Roessler (A) and Spencer Kerr (M) should also be key contributors offensively.  Though Tahoma missed the playoffs last year they truly were in every game, even losing to Bainbridge by just four.  With so many young guns benefitting from a solid year of varsity experience under their belt, there is no doubt the boys from Maple Valley will be making a playoff push this season. 

 

Vashon

Vashon only graduated two, but one was the heart of their defense in Austin Franks.  To make matters worse, top scorer Gregor Davidheiser has left the island to follow in his brother’s footsteps and play his senior year at the Hill School in Pennsylvania.  The playoffs look to be out of reach unless a crop of inexperienced youth and step up big.

 

 

NORTHEAST CONFERENCE

Bellevue

2011 was a breakthrough year for the Wolverines as they captured the state title for the first time since 1991.  Gone now is the star studded senior class of 13 guys that included an All-American (Brett Mennella), an NCAA Division I recruit (Cole Nordstrom, Denver) and three other All-State performers (Alex Mennella, Ryan Deal and Thomas Zervais).  However, the Wolverines do return a 2nd Team All-State defenseman in junior, Sam Leggett.  Leggett just might already be the league’s best and is already be highly touted by several Ivy League schools to play at the next level.  Along with Leggett, junior Clayton Federspiel and junior netminder Austin Boyd returns to help solidify the defense but it is on the offensive end where Bellevue might need help.  Bellevue does return capable scorers in Blake Samuel (A) and Drew Douglas (M), but will rely heavily on youth at the offensive end.  The Wolverines are still a top 5 team and a lock for the playoffs but it remains to be seen if a squad with only two seniors with varsity experience can make a return trip to the finals.

 

Eastlake

Eastlake barely missed the playoffs in 2010 and it might be tough to better that finish upon the graduation of 14 seniors that included an all-state defender (Danny Vais) and a quality goaltender (Trevor Olson).  Coach Lee is hoping he can get this year’s crew to mesh in running his zone defense and follow the leadership of senior Matt Uhlar.  Uhlar was also a starter on this year’s basketball team.  The offense will be led by midfielder, Patrick Keogh, but unless he can find support the goals may be hard to come by.

 

Eastside Catholic

The Crusaders graduated eight and must find a serviceable replacement to protect the net, but the return of senior faceoff midfielder, Michael Rambildini and preseason all-state selection, midfielder Kyle Decker give Eastside Catholic a chance to score points.  The Crusaders youth programs have also been making noise and give hope that the high school program can continue to improve in the Division I ranks.  EC is still a step behind the big three in this conference but may be able to now challenge for a playoff spot in the mid-tier.

 

Issaquah

The purple and gold have quite a task ahead of them in trying to rebound from the loss of a teammate (Tyler Lucas), graduation of 11 seniors (including 1st Team All-State selection, Todd Jones) and failing to reach the finals for just the second time since they joined Division I in 2005 (the other was 2007).  On the positive side, the Eagles return a solid core of senior and junior talent.  Senior midfielder, Kevin Powers is ready to breakout after his experience playing for Sweden in the World Games this past summer.  Fellow senior and attackman, Jake Fritz has plans to be Powers go to guy and both of them have already committed to play for NCAA Division II, Dominican (CA) next spring.  Juniors, Kole Lindor (LSM) and O’Neil Hughes (G) might be the state’s best at each of their positions.  Issaquah returns nine others with varsity experience and if they can fill in with a bit of youth they should be right back in the mix to challenge for a spot in the finals again.

 

Lake Washington

Long time Bainbridge coach, Dejon Hush has brought his presence to the mainland.  He takes over a Kangaroo squad that returns all but three from a squad that narrowly missed making the Division II finals a year ago.  Lake Washington should immediately make a splash in the Division I ranks and fight for a mid-tier playoff spot coming out of the Northeast Conference.  The Bernstein brothers are very capable scorers and Coach Hush has plenty of experience coaching in big games at the Division I level.  The Kangs might not yet be deep enough to challenge the top three, but the playoffs are a sure bet if they play to their potential.

 

Lynnwood

The Tigers return for their 2nd stint at the Divison I ranks (Division I in 2007 and 2008 as well) after capturing the Division II title in 2010.  Lynnwood return four of their top six scorers led by senior attackman, Cam Girgus.  Girgus notched 43 assists last season, many of them finding cousin Sam Girgus and Nick Peters, both of whom return.  Another Girgus (Justin) will captain the defense.  With all they return, the Tigers have a great shot to better their win total the last time they played a season long Division I schedule. 

 

Mercer Island

The Islanders came oh so close to regaining the title that has eluded them since 2006 but fell just short in the finals.  Now they must replace an all-state defense… literally.  A year ago, the man between the pipes (Hap Giraud) and all three starting defensemen (Beckwith, Raffety and Reed) were all-state selections.  Seniors, Brian Bernstein (G), Ryan Blumenstein (D) and TJ Blackburn (D) are all capable replacements.  Despite losing All-American, Jon Wettack on the offensive side, Mercer returns four of six offensive starters including their entire attack line.  In addition, senior midfielder, Colton Knebel may not have started next year but you wouldn’t know it by watching him.  Knebel is also a state level wrestler and has the ability to take over in the midfield.  Fellow senior and line mate, Doug Mahony has the same takeover mentality and it may be hard for any team to stop the combination of the two.  Mercer captured this past summer’s Summer Sizzle tournament and showed they just might be the team to beat in 2011.

 

Mukilteo

The Knights were hit hard by graduation in losing 12.  However, new coach Owen Corddry has a few solid juniors to build a young team around.  The list includes Alex Okemah at midfield and Kevin McGowen on attack.  Paul Linari is a capable goalkeeper but an inexperienced defense in front of him could make things challenging.  Best case scenario, Mukilteo earns a #6 seed into the playoffs.

 

Northshore

Northshore rode the backs of the Wisman boys all the way to the 2nd round of the playoffs in 2010.  That magic may be hard to duplicate and the dynamic duo has been cut in half with older brother Taylor’s departure to the collegiate ranks.  Younger brother Foster is now a senior and will be joining Taylor at RIT in a year, but he will have his work cut out for him this year.  He will also miss the services of seven other graduates.  The player that should help Foster the most this year should be senior midfielder, Jake Bus.  Bus is true to his name and has the ability to plow through folks.  Northshore will go as far as Wisman and the Bus can carry them but this might be the year the playoff streak ends.

 

Overlake

Overlake won’t lack talent in 2011, they’ll lack depth.  The Owls may have been hit harder by graduation than any other program.  The loss of 12 seniors hurts any program, but in a school of just over 200 students having 12 seniors on one team is actually pretty remarkable.  That crew won a Division II title in 2009 and made the playoffs in Division I a year ago, but now they are gone.  Gone are both Tweedie-Yates boys, gone is Devon Schmidt and gone is Chapp Grubb.  Overlake does return a talented player at each position. Junior, Bryce Remington is a leader on defense while sophomore Erik Risa wins groundballs (team leading 87 in ’10) at the faceoff “x” and junior, Joe Dolack scores goals (3rd on team with 17 in ’10).  Barrett Jenness and Colton Umberger will pace the attack unit.  Overlake is in a tough spot sitting in a tough conference and lacking depth; playoffs could be a reach but they still have talent to do so and should fight for the 6th spot.

  

Skyline

The Spartans should once again be a solid playoff team despite the loss 12 to graduation.  Skyline is always a super athletic squad and this year will be no different.  A great example is sophomore midfielder, Peyton Pelluer who led the state finalist football team in tackles as just a sophomore!  Junior, Jack Pruit might be the best all-around athletic midfielder in the league.  He will need help and should get production from junior attackman, Max Saffle.  Phoenix Abernathy (D) and Cory Larson (G) bring experience to the defensive end.   

 

 

2011 - Division I - Preseason All-State Teams

First Team

Second Team

Third Team

A

Cameron Parker

12

Bainbridge

A

Max Jones

11

Tacoma

A

Jake Bernstein

12

Lake Washington

A

Jake Fritz

12

Issaquah

A

Connor Bernal

11

Mercer Island

A

Max Saffle

11

Skyline

A

Matt Shields

12

Mercer Island

A

Blake Samuel

11

Bellevue

A

Matt O'Neill

11

Issaquah

M

Kevin Powers

12

Issaquah

M

Jack Pruitt

11

Skyline

M

Jacob Goodman

12

Bainbridge

M

Foster Wisman

12

Northshore

M

Doug Mahony

12

Mercer Island

M

Peter Christiansen

12

Seattle Prep

M

Colton Knebel

12

Mercer Island

M

Colby Carr

12

Curtis

M

Alex Okemah

11

Mukilteo

M

Alex Crane

12

Bainbridge

M

Kyle Decker

12

EastsideCatholic

M

Patrick Keogh

12

Eastlake

LSM

Kole Lindor

11

Issaquah

LSM

TJ Blackburn

12

Mercer Island

LSM

Nick Guinett

10

King’s Way

D

Sam Leggett

11

Bellevue

D

Quinn McMahon

12

Bainbridge

D

Bryce Remington

11

Overlake

D

Kevin Park

12

Stadium

D

Ryan Blumenstein

12

Mercer Island

D

Nick Lacy

12

Bainbridge

D

Zack Fuller

11

Tacoma

D

Eric Hoeffner

12

King's Way

D

Clayton Federspiel

11

Bellevue

G

O'Neil Hughes

11

Issaquah

G

Max Zandstra

12

King's Way

G

Mitchell Homeyer

12

Curtis

 

 

 

Lacrosse The Country…

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

·         Hopefully you caught the Maryland vs Georgetown game on ESPN U as it was a fun one for Washington folks to watch.  Landon Carr (Curtis) netted his first career goal while Drew Snider (Garfield) finished with a hat-trick in helping the Terps to a season opening beat down of the Hoyas.

·         Notre Dame de Namur (NDNU) is off to a 2-1 start and is stacked with all sorts of WHSBLA alumns (8 total from WA).  The Argonauts are led in scoring by Kevin Nguyen (Bainbridge), Derek Kimbrough (Vashon) and Greg Bearson (Eastside).  They have also got contributions from 2002 Bainbridge grad, Jacob Hayashi, who now finds himself a junior midfielder on their roster after a long adventurous road to bay area that included stops in Bellingham and Alaska.

·         Another trio of Washington boys are amongst the top 5 scorers for St. Andrew’s

 

Lacrosse Four Thought…

Will there be a game played in the snow this year?

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

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

Where are the other WHSBLA alumns this season (other than those already mentioned in our preview)?

 

We’ll give a shout out to the best emails of the week and include your comments/quotes in next week’s Sunday Stroll.  Further, in regards to our last thought, we are starting early on compiling a list of WHSBLA alumns playing college ball this season so please send us your knowledge!

 

Feed us your thoughts… Time to hear from you… Bring it!          EMAIL: TheSundayStroll@gmail.com