Stay calm. Be patient. It will be here before you know it. Just 10 more days to opening day for the boys 2014 season. With the increasing competition, the lacrosse hierarchy is changing. Some traditional powers have fallen out of the Top 10 (at least for now) while some newcomers are knocking on the Top 10 door, saying let me in. Hear we go with the preseason 11-15 rankings.
15. El Toro (8-9 in 2013)
Coach Andy Salcido and the Chargers will compete for a South Coast League title with their trademark blue-collar approach to lacrosse. Key returnees include junior Parker Core, a 2nd Team All League midfielder in 2013 and junior midfielder Jason Hastings who earned honorable mention All League last year.
KEY GAMES: March 18 vs Santa Margarita; March 20 vs Beckman; April 29 vs San Clemente
14. Yorba Linda (16-2 in 2013)
The Mustangs are a team on the rise. Their record has improved from 5-10 in 2011 to 9-8 in 2012 to 16-2 last year. Not ready to rest on their laurels, the Mustangs have strengthened their schedule considerably this year by adding St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, Huntington Beach, and Great Oak. Players to watch include 1st Team All League and Spanish National Team player Ryan Viadero at midfield, and 2nd Team All League performers Mitchell Flood (defense), Kevin Anthony (defense), and Jack Diedrich (midfield).
KEY GAMES: March 14 vs Santa Margarita; March 24 vs Huntington Beach; April 7 vs Great Oak
13. Newport Harbor (6-12 in 2013)
Head Coach Mark Todd and the Sailors look to rebound from a disappointing season in 2013. They will have their work cut out for them in a league that includes Huntington Beach High School, Los Al, and a steadily improving Marina High School.
KEY GAMES: March 12 vs Tesoro; March 15 vs St. John’s (Houston, TX); March 28 vs Corona del Mar
12. Aliso Niguel (11-6 in 2013)
An experienced Wolverines team is looking to improve on last season’s 11-6 record and show that they are ready for Top 10 consideration. The Wolverines return 12 seniors including 1st Team All League defenseman Connor Reed, 2nd Team All League defenseman Cole Lattimore, and captains Stevie Barron, Sawyer Hulse, Zach Muduryan, and James Murphy. Junior Jonah Rinaldi, who scored 53 points last year as a sophomore and earned 1st Team All League honors will drop some jaws with his athleticism.
KEY GAMES: March 18 @ Newport Harbor; April 3 @ Dana Hills; April 26 @ Tesoro
11. Los Alamitos (11-7 in 2013)
Despite an impressive 11-7 record, the Griffins five-year reign as league champions ended last year. The Griffins are hoping that Chris Jewett can lead them back to Sunset League supremacy in his first year as head coach. Jewett will rely on Second Team All-League faceoff specialist Brandon Ezell (2nd Team All League), Ty Miller (2nd Team All League), and Cody Miller (Honorable Mention All League) to carry the offensive load. Senior defenseman Cole Somers will provide leadership at the other end of the field.
KEY GAMES: March 1 @ Foothill; March 21 vs. Santa Margarita; April 11 @ Huntington Beach
COMING NEXT: A daily countdown to No. 1…next up, No. 10…