Agoura 2016 Preview: Preseason No. 10

The Agoura Chargers were voted No. 10 in the US Lacrosse/MaxLaxLA preseason coaches poll, a spot they flirted with all of last season before ultimately earning the No. 10 seed in the playoffs. Can they improve upon that this season? Here is our Agoura 2016 preview:

Coach: Sean Lindsay. Assistant coach: Jack Zorzi
Last season: 6-10 overall; 4-6 Marmonte League (fourth place).
2015 playoffs: Lost in the first round to Crespi, 9-5.
2015 recap: The Chargers struggled all season to score goals, averaging only 7.3 per game and reaching double-figures only three times — twice against Calabasas and once in a 14-10 regular-season loss to Crespi. But the Agoura defense was among the area’s best, allowing only 7.2 goals per game. Four of Agoura’s 10 losses were by a single goal, and two of those were in overtime. With a little luck, and just a bit more offense, the Chargers could have been 10-6.

Taylor Dankenbring, Agoura
Taylor Dankenbring and the Agoura defense excel both in the half field and in transition.

Top returning players: Information provided by Agoura assistant coach Jack Zorzi.

  • Liv Bar, senior, midfield: “Hard-nosed, downhill, unselfish dodger who recorded 11 goals and 11 assists before breaking his hand in 2015. One of the top offensive threats in the Marmonte League. Liv is a four-year member of the Agoura varsity team.”
  • Joe Glassman, senior, defender: “Aggressive defender with outstanding footwork and motor who possesses a higher than average IQ and excels equally on-ball and off-ball. Joe is a three-year starter on the AHS varsity defense who often takes on the opposing team’s ball carrier.”
  • Keagan Gauthier, senior, defender: “Three-year starter who will often take on the opposition’s scoring threat. Shut-down defender who uses his strong frame and utilizes an array of stick checks to put the ball on the ground and get it up field. The Maryville (NCAA D-II) commit is especially dominant around GLE and will look to fill the void of Jonah Swigart (Syracuse University).”
  • Jason Pawlak, senior, goalie: “Three-year starting goalie for Agoura who will return to playing full time after sharing duties in 2015. Fierce leader who has outstanding vision and communication skills. Skilled shot stopper who has quick hands and superb clearing ability. Jason will do a post graduate year at Brodie Merrill’s Hill Academy in 2017.”
  • Noah Miller, junior, attack: “Agoura’s top returning point scorer [at attack] who had a stellar season in 2015 (27 points on 15 goals, 12 assists). Miller uses his 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame, combined with above-average stick skills and finishing ability, to excel off-ball, as well as in transition.”
  • Marty Shargel, junior, middie: “Crafty finisher with a cannon of a shot who has used the 2015 offseason to develop his foot speed and shot on the run. Recorded 28 points in his sophomore season. Between Shargel and Liv Bar, opposing defenses will have difficulty choosing which scoring threat will draw their LSM. Young for his class, Shargel is strongly considering a post-graduate year before enrolling in college in 2018.”
  • Taylor Dankenbring, junior, defender: “Athletic defender with impressive size (6-4, 190), stick skills, footwork and ability to excel at the next level. Taylor uses his length and impressive array of checks to dislodge the ball and a smooth stick and long stride to transition the ball from defense to offense. Taylor spent the Spring 2015 season as Agoura’s starting long-stick midfielder. Will help fill the void after the departure of Swigart.”
  • Cooper Isaacs, sophomore, LSM: “Extremely aggressive cover-man with punishing checks and the speed to blow past his man once the ball is in his stick. Has the IQ of a polished upperclassman developed through many east coast events and showcases. Equally comfortable defending around GLE or dodging midfielders. The smooth lefty is a ground-ball vacuum while playing on the wings. Started every game as the team’s top short-stick defensive middie in 2015. Will cover the opponent’s biggest midfield scoring threat in 2016.”

2016 Outlook: Even with the loss of All-American defender Swigart to graduation, the Chargers should still be stout on defense with Glassman, Gauthier, Dankenbring and Isaacs in front of goalie Pawlak. If a healthy Bar and an improved Shargel can help generate more offense, Agoura could swing a number of close games in its favor.

Can the Chargers advance beyond the first-round of the playoffs, which they haven’t done since 2013? Early games against Crespi (Feb. 27), at Harvard Westlake (March 5) and at Peninsula (March 8) will reveal a lot.