The Sunday Stroll

 

Here we go again… 2013 marks the fifth year of the Sunday Stroll here on the WHSBLA site!  Plenty of big news from this off-season as our league has gone through its biggest expansion since 2002.  The WHSBLA stretches border to border north to south and now east to west with the addition of four Spokane area teams to the league.  In addition, two more Varsity programs will field teams down south in the Vancouver area.  We will dive in further next week in our Division II Preview, but this week we focus on Division I.

 

2012 saw a big breakthrough as Eastside Catholic climbed all the way to the final.  It was the first time since 2000 that the final did not include a pairing involving two of Bainbridge, Bellevue, Issaquah and Mercer Island.  Bellevue did their part in reaching the final and in capturing the title earned the program’s 9th Division I State Championship.   Will the parity continue in 2013?  Odds are good that it will as both Eastside Catholic and fellow semi-finalist, King’s Way, return strong squads.  Further, a slight restructure in the organization of conferences and resulting playoff berths make the likelihood greater.  Who can make a surprise run to the top this year?  Let’s get to it…

 

Division I Previews:

(Please Note: Each program is now referred to as the school(s) in which they namely represent.  Previews are listed in alphabetical order within each conference.)

 

METRO CONFERENCE

Bainbridge Island

The Spartans graduated just one player from a solid team that reached the quarterfinals last season and are a strong candidate to get back to the semifinals or beyond this year.  Hot goaltending and a high scoring offense is a great recipe for success come playoff time and the Spartans seemingly have the pieces in place.  Senior attackman, Jake Knotsman is a Fairfield commit, an All-American candidate and arguably the best attackman in the state.  Statistically, Knotsman was second to none last season posting a record breaking 119 points in 22 games.  On the defensive end, junior, Reynolds Yarbrough might be the best netminder in the state in.  He is small in stature, but fearless and lightning quick.  Senior defenseman, Bryce Withers earned 2nd Team All-State honors in 2012.  Withers and senior midfielder, Sean Maier will also be huge factors.

 

Bellarmine Prep

Seniors, Garrett Stockdale and Connor McLeod have their work cut out for them as the talented offensive duo must lead a rebuilding group that graduated 14 players from a year ago.  Each produced over 40 points last season and Stockdale has garnered some recruiting attention.  Stockdale also was recognized as a 3rd Team All-State midfielder in 2012.  The Lions appear a step below Bainbridge and Eastside Catholic and must fight with Lakeside and Kamiak for the Metro’s #3 seed.

  

Eastside Catholic

After making a huge splash in his debut, head coach Lewis Ratcliff is back to try and lead the Crusaders back to the State Championship.  He returns a wealth of talent that begins with junior midfielder, Colin MacIlvennie.  As just a sophomore, MacIlvennie showed tremendous confidence in earning 1st Team All-State recognition.  His ability to handle long stick pressure in the midfield and shoot on the run make him a college level talent as he is already committed to the University of Maryland.  The Crusaders showed last season they are far from a one man show though and have even more offensive fire power this season.  Junior, Jarret Toy, a Snohomish transfer, is now in the mix at attack along with junior, Ross Komenda, Catholic’s second leading scorer from a year ago. A trio of juniors will anchor the defensive end as well.  Austin MacCord and John Breed are both aggressive, athletic poles that garnered All-State Honorable Mention last year while Colin Shriever stands between the pipes.  Eastside Catholic is clearly a playoff team and the battle for the Metro Conference with Bainbridge will be a fun one to follow!

 

Kamiak

Some coaching stability for the first time in four years as Mike Harlow returns at the helm for the Mukilteo program.  Though, the Knights graduated do-it-all midfielder, Alex Okemah, making the prospect of returning to the playoffs a bit more of a challenge.  The road will start from the back with leadership from senior goalkeeper, Nick Gregory (3rd Team All-State in 2012).  Gregory has fellow senior, defenseman Ted Kramer, in front of him.  On the offensive end, the Knights will rely on senior attackman, Jordan Gagnon and sophomore midfielder, Liew Rust.

 

Lakeside

The senior laden Lions graduated just four and return a host of experience making 2013 their best shot in recent years to make a run at a playoff berth.  Coach Hartley will rely on leadership from midfielders Connor Haney and Gabriel Pascualy along with attackman, Houston Warren. Peter Scott is a very credible netminder and has a host of senior defensemen in front of him.

 

 

SOUTH SOUND CONFERENCE

Auburn Riverside

The Lake Tapps program is coming of their most successful season yet having reached the state quarterfinals.  In graduating just four, they will be back in the mix in 2013 and should undoubtedly battle King’s Way for the top spot in the South Sound.  The Lucchesi brothers, Joey and Michael, are both juniors and lead the offense from the midfield and attack respectively.    Each earned 3rd Team All-State honors a year ago.  Senior defensemen, Hayden Powers and Michael O’Connor will anchor the defense.  Powers also earned 3rd Team All-State recognition last season.

 

Curtis

The Viking appear to be in the second tier of the South Sound having last eight to graduation including three of their top four scorers from 2012.  Senior midfielder, Jayden Todd is the top returning scorer.  Senior, Zach Budnick has All-State potential in goal but will need help in front of him.

 

Emerald Ridge-Puyallup

The Panthers are a combined 2-22 in league play over the last two years and gone is 2nd Team All-State midfielder, Robert Abbott.  Senior, Micayel McKechnie earned 3rd Team All-State on defense last year and is back to help rebuild from the back line forward.

 

King’s Way

King’s Way put a true stamp on its legitimacy in 2012 by knocking off Issaquah in the state quarterfinals before falling one step short of the state championship.  The Knights did graduate some key pieces but the majority of the core is back and they are clearly the class of the South Sound (though Auburn Riverside will make an argument).  Senior, Clayton Frank is a beast of an athlete and has committed to play college ball at Marist.  Frank is also a starting quarterback in football though the true leader on offense for King’s Way may be fellow senior midfielder, Jack Beall.  Beall earned 2nd Team All-State in 2012 and is committed to play Division II at Dominican in California.  This year, each Frank and Beall are All-American candidates and pre-season 1st Team All-State midfielders.  The Knights do take a slight hit from the formation of the new program in Camas losing a couple younger role players, including what likely may have been their starting goalie.  However, senior pole, Nick Guinnett is back to lead the defense.  Guinnett was a 3rd Team All-State performer in 2012.

 

Tahoma

The Bears are still very young as their top two returning scorers are both just sophomores in Hudson Taylor and Brody Sullivan. Junior, Kyle Dige is the top returner on defense.  Tahoma will have to knock off Curtis and Emerald Ridge-Puyallup to have a chance at the playoffs. 

 

 

KINGCO WEST CONFERENCE

Bellevue

The most impressive thing about Bellevue is 2012 was that they started the year on paper as the favorite and despite a two game hiccup mid-season the Wolverines finished #1.  Once again in 2013 the Wolverines may again be the head of the class though there are more questions this year than last, especially on the defensive end.  Offensively they did lose three of their top five scorers, but don’t feel too bad for them as they do return their top two, both Division I commits in senior, Cole Johnson (Army) and junior, Hank Bethke (Ohio St.).  Both are All-American candidates and along with Bainbridge’s Knotsman in the discussion for best attackman in the state.  In addition, they return two extremely athletic midfielders, seniors Simon Jenkin and Dakota Jones as well as a physical specimen in junior Eric Haehl.  Senior, Blake Backer is the lone returner on defense and two candidates will challenge to replace departed All-American, Austin Boyd, in goal.  Bellevue is at minimum a semifinal team but have their eyes set another title.

 

Bothell-Inglemoor

Following in the footsteps of the Wisman brothers, senior attackman, Drew Tosoya is an RIT commit.  Junior long pole, Jacob Cartwright is a big athletic defender that likes to get involved on the offensive end as well. 

 

Lake Washington

It will be a big year for the Kangs to see how far they have come and to see how they handle life without a Bernstein.  Coach Hush will have the boys ready though as Lake Washington possesses some unassuming talent.  The offensive end will be led by junior attackman, Hank Schmaele and speedy senior midfielder, Carson Brown.  Senior, Drew Roberts is the Kangs top long pole.  Senior, Austin Stout is the incumbent in goal now that 2nd Team All-State keeper, Jonah Friedl has graduated.  Lake Washington should battle Sammamish-Newport for the third seed in the KingCo West.

 

Mercer Island

With all the talk about Eastside Catholic and King’s Way reaching the semis last season and with Bellevue winning the title, many forget that Mercer Island quietly had another typical Islander year in reaching the state semis for the 15 consecutive year (dating back to 1998).  Mercer graduated two 1st Team All-State Performers (Connor Bernal, Brent Tsang) but return two NCAA Division I commits in senior attackman, Grant Preisler (committed to Marquette) and junior defenseman, Chase York (committed to Loyola).  Seemingly the Islanders have plenty coming back to push towards another semifinal appearance though the road may be tougher given they are in the same conference as Bellevue.  Always tough to bet against them though, especially when there is still a Mahony on the roster (junior midfielder, Peter)!

 

Sammamish-Newport

Former Mercer Island assistant, Ian Lee, takes the reigns as Head Coach as has his sights set on reaching the playoffs in his first year.  He has some talent to work with in senior attack, Sean Sternberg, junior midfielder, Cooper Horton and junior goalkeeper, Morgan White. 

 

 

KINGCO EAST CONFERENCE

Eastlake

Former Bellevue assistant coach and defensive coordinator, Chris O’Dougherty has been given the helm at Eastlake for the departed Coach Panos.  O’Dougherty helped guide Bellevue to two state-championships over the previous three years and was recognized as Assistant Coach of the Year.  He played college ball at Rutgers and currently plays for the Washington Stealth so he brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to a hungry pack of Wolves.  Injuries plagued Eastlake a year ago, but if they can remain healthy this year they have the talent to make waves.  Senior attackman, Josiah Fonte is a great athlete and he hopes to get help from fellow senior, Zach Shute.  Senior, Chris Wright is a quick, active pole that will no doubt benefit from his new coach.  Eastlake also boasts one of the better face-off men in senior, Will Tseng.

 

Issaquah

After a somewhat improbable run last regular season Issaquah sat at 19-0 before the unbeaten dream came crashing down in a quarterfinal loss to King’s Way.  Issaquah fell hard and may have fallen relatively far.  They graduated two All-Americans (Ben Director and Kole Lindor) as well as three other all-state players.  The off-season took an unfortunate toll as well in losing two more would be starters and returning top scorers to season ending injuries.  So, for the first time in a long time, Issaquah has some uncertainty and getting back to the quarters may be a reach.  They will rely on the “defense wins championships” cliché if they hope to experience success they are accustomed to while developing a young offense.   Senior netminder, Brady Hahn and senior defenseman, Mitch Undi, each have All-State potential.  Mikey Giannopulus is one of the better face-off men and should help the offense develop by earning them possessions.  The top returners offensively are senior, Derek DeYoung and junior, Zach Fritz.

  

Skyline

2012 failed to meet expectations as a group with two collegiate commits (Jack Pruitt, Denver and Max Saffle, Air Force) failed to reach the playoffs.  Former assistant and once longtime Overlake coach, Henry Valentine, has taken charge and the future looks bright.  Coach Valentine has returning talent to work with.  Senior attackmen, Ryan Benz and Cannon Gardener are proven scorers, while junior long pole, Spencer Noonan is arguably the state’s best at the position.  Noonan has already committed to Fairfield.  As long as the Spartans can win the games they should, their conference lines up well for them to make a return to the playoffs after the year hiatus.

 

Snohomish

After claiming the 2012 Division II Championship, Snohomish has been reassigned to Division I.  Coach Cote’s bunch will undoubtedly go through an adjustment period early in the season but have their top four scorers back which should make the transitions much easier.  An entire attack group returns with seniors Austin Tippett, Devin Remlinger and junior, Gabe Gurgus. Senior midfielder, Harrison Wartes is the other top returning scorer.  Junior, Davyd Powell is the top defender while senior, David Wartes will look to keep the nets clean. 

 

Woodinville

The Falcons had a rollercoaster trip in 2012 as seven varsity players spent significant time on the injured list.  When healthy they were a solid competitive group.  2013 could be promising if they can stay healthy as the Falcons graduated just five.  They also benefit from the unfortunate folding of the Division II, Providence program for the 2013 season as two solid players (the Hummel brothers) have landed at their resident public school program.  Senior, Colter Clinch is the Falcon’s top returner on offense while senior, Trevor Brown is Falcon’s top defender.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 

2013 - Division I - Preseason All-State Teams

First Team

Second Team

Third Team

A

Jake Knotsman

12

Bainbridge

A

Grant Preisler

12

Mercer Island

A

Ryan Benz

12

Skyline

A

Cole Johnson

12

Bellevue

A

Ross Komenda

11

East Catholic

A

Josiah Fonte

12

Eastlake

A

Hank Bethke

11

Bellevue

A

Joey Lucchesi

11

Aub Riverside

A

Hank Schmaele

11

Lk Washington

M

Jack Beall

12

King’s Way

M

Dakota Jones

12

Bellevue

M

Eric Haehl

11

Bellevue

M

Colin MacIlvennie

12

East Catholic

M

Simon Jenkins

12

Bellevue

M

Sean Maier

12

Bainbridge

M

Clayton Frank

12

King’s Way

M

Michael Lucchessi

11

Aub Riverside

M

Garrett Stockdale

12

Bell Prep

M

Hayden Reisman

12

Mercer Island

M

Peter Kimble

12

East Catholic

M

Connor Haney

12

Lakeside

LSM

Spencer Noonan

11

Skyline

LSM

Austin MacCord

11

East Catholic

LSM

Chris Wright

12

Eastlake

D

Blake Backer

12

Bellevue

D

Bryce Withers

12

Bainbridge

D

Jacob Cartwright

11

Bothell-Ing

D

Chase York

11

Mercer Island

D

Nick Guinnett

12

King’s Way

D

Mitch Undi

12

Issaquah

D

John Breed

11

East Catholic

D

Michael O’Connor

12

Aub Riverside

D

Hayden Powers

12

Aub Riverside

G

Reynold Yarbrough

11

Bainbridge

G

Nick Gregory

12

Kamiak

G

Brady Hahn

12

Issaquah

 

OTHERS TO WATCH

Attack: Drew Tosoya (SR, Bothell-Inglemoor), Jarrett Toy (JR, Eastside Catholic), Sean Sternberg (SR, Sammamish-Newport), Connor McCleod (SR, Bellarmine Prep), Connor Dyehouse (SR, King’s Way)

Midfield: Peter Mahony (JR, Mercer Island), Carson Brown (SR, Lake Washington), Greg Shea (SR, Bainbridge), Cooper Horton (JR, Sammamish-Newport)

Defense: Zach Taylor (SR, Mercer Island), Drew Roberts (SR, Lake Washington), Trevor Brown (SR, Woodinville), Davyd Powell (JR, Snohomish)

Goal: Zack Budnick (SR, Curtis), Morgan White (JR, Sammamish-Newport)

 

 

 

Lacrosse The Country…

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

·         Sam Snow (Bainbridge) had an incredible week scoring 6 goals in two games for Fairfield.  Against Navy, Snow tallied 4 times including the game winner with just five seconds left.

·         In a rematch of last year’s NCAA Division I championship, Maryland enacted revenge by knocking off Loyola.  Landon Carr (Curtis) scored a goal in the win. 

·         Dominican’s 18-3 victory over Notre Dame de Namur saw six WHSBLA alumns register points: Cody Bernstein (Lake Washington), Jake Bernstein (Lake Washington), Jake Fritz (Issaquah), Kevin Powers (Issaquah), Brock Beall (King’s Way) and Kevin Nguyen (Bainbridge)

·         After two games, the Shields brothers (Daniel and Matt) lead Division II’s Mount Olive in scoring.

·         Whittier College is off to a 3-0 start thanks in large part to three more WHSBLA alumns: Eric Omri (Bellevue), Max Jones (Bellarmine Prep) and Thomas Brook (Puyallup).  Brook has already registered 2g,2a as a defenseman!

 

Lacrosse Four Thought…

Which team will take home the WHSBLA Division I State Championship in 2013?

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

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

Where have other WHSBLA players committed to playing their college ball?

 

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 commits as well as WHSBLA alumns currently 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