As our trip through the lists of top seniors to watch in the area moves to defense, we once again faced the prospect of featuring the very same defenders we featured last year as juniors. But there was a second dilemma, as well: What to do with poles who rotate back and forth between close defense and LSM?
In past years, we’ve grouped longstick midfielders with the goalies and face-off middies on a list of specialists to watch. This year, all longpoles were grouped together, hoping to recognize the versatility in a very deep group of seniors.
As with senior attacks and middies earlier this week, we can’t ignore the three defenders we featured last year as juniors — Kyle McBride, Palos Verdes (two-time All-Bay League; committed to St. John’s), Hart Swan, Palos Verdes (All-Bay League, committed to Denison), and Nate Holguin, Oak Park (Eagles’ defensive MVP, All-County by the Ventura County Star) — all of whom continue to make big contributions to their teams and beyond.
Here is a long list of senior defenders to watch in 2018, compiled using 2017 all-league lists, nominations from coaches and by paying close attention to area lacrosse over the past five seasons:
Simon Pompan, Harvard Westlake
An active and aggressive defender with the ability to play close defense or LSM, Pompan helped anchor a defense that allowed only 5.7 goals per game last season in leading the Wolverines to a 16-2 record and a second consecutive berth in the LA semifinals. Pompan was credited with 78 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers.
Josh Park, Palos Verdes
Primarily an LSM for the Sea Kings, playing the wing on face-offs, Park is a four-year varsity player and two-year starter. Coach Jimmy Borell describes him as a “ground ball machine.” Last season, Park was named first-team All-Bay League, US Lacrosse All-Academic and recipient of the US Lacrosse Bob Scott Award. This year, he will team with McBride, Swan and a swarm of other poles to anchor the PV defense.
Casey Hoops, Oak Park
A three-year varsity player and two-time captain for the Eagles, Hoops is a versatile defender who actually stepped into the cage and played goalie for five games last season to fill a need. This year, coach Tarik Ergin said Hoops might even spend some time in the midfield and on man-up situations. Hoops was named second-team All-County by the Ventura County Star.
Also Worth Watching
Players listed alphabetically.
Zach Boyle, Calabasas
Daniel Brandolino, Westlake (committed to Tampa)
Jordan Broussard, Oak Park
Paul Ginzinger, Oaks Christian (second-team All-Marmonte League)
Nate Holguin, Oak Park
Cooper Isaacs, Agoura (first-team All-Marmonte League; committed to Utah)
Nick Jimenez, Culver City (two-time All-Ocean League)
Connor Kuhl, Westlake (second-team All-Marmonte League)
Kyle McBride, Palos Verdes (first-team All-Bay League; committed to St. John’s)
Thomas Nelson, Chaminade (committed to Albion)
Tommy Redell, Oaks Christian
Kai Sanvictores, San Marcos
Tim Schartz, El Segundo (two-time All-Ocean League)
Hart Swan, Palos Verdes (second-team A..-Bay League; committed to Denison)
Will Vangelos, Calabasas (two-time All-Gold Coast League at Sierra Canyon)