Mater Dei boys lacrosse will look to exit the Trinity League basement in 2017 under second-year coach Johnny Rodriguez and get back on track with their first winning record since 2014. The Monarchs will have to do it without their leading scorer, attackman Brady Burwell (senior, captain), who will miss most of the season recovering from a broken foot suffered during a preseason scrimmage.
Coach: Johnny Rodriguez (second season).
2016 season: 6-12 overall, 1-5 in the Trinity League (fourth place).
Schedule Highlights: Feb. 25 vs. Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks (season opener) at Huntington Beach High; Feb. 28 vs. Norco; March 7 at Edison; March 9 at Beckman; March 14 at Santiago; March 16 vs. Trabuco Hills; March 23 at Servite (conference opener); March 31 at St. Margarets; April 6 vs. Santa Margarita; April 8 vs. Servite; April 17 vs. Aliso Niguel; April 21 vs. Newport Harbor; April 25 at Santa Margarita; April 28 vs. Huntington Beach (regular-season finale).
Players to Watch: Brady Burwell (attack, senior, team captain), the Monarchs’ leading scorer from last season is injured but potentially returning in April; Ryan Binford (defense/LSM, junior, team captain); Will Yeager (defense, senior, team captain); Sean Waterman (attack, sophomore); and Nick Sando (midfielder, senior, team captain).
Coach’s Outlook: “We’ve seen a lot of injuries in the last couple of months,” Rodriguez said. “We had to bring two freshman up to varsity, so we have three freshmen on varsity that will be getting play time. We’re not looking for anyone to play the ‘superstar’ role. We’re really a team-based offense and team-based defense this year. So depending how well we play together will determine how well we play this season. … We have 100 percent commitment from all the players as far as buying in to the team atmosphere. It’s been a complete 180 as far as the commitment level goes, and we’ll look to see that boost our success rate this year in the win column moving forward.”