Coming in at No. 9 in the US Lacrosse/MaxLaxLA preseason coaches poll is Newbury Park. The Panthers have a new head coach in Mike Noble, who led the school’s JV team to a 12-3 record last year. Noble is the varsity team’s third coach in as many seasons, and the Panthers are hoping he can bring some stability to a program well stocked with talent. Here is our Newbury Park 2016 preview:
Coach: Mike Noble
Last season: 14-5 overall; 7-3 Marmonte League (third place).
2015 playoffs: No. 9 seed; beat Oak Park in first round; lost at Palos Verdes in second round.
2015 recap: Under first-year coach Grant Kaleikau, the Panthers played a disciplined, half-field style that favored long, time-consuming possessions over end-to-end action. That strategy, combined with a suffocating defense led by senior US Lacrosse All-Americans Mikey Marinelli (goalie) and Chucky Smith (close defense), enabled Newbury to hold opponents to just 4.25 goals per game. After falling behind host Palos Verdes 6-3 in their quarterfinal playoff game, the Panthers managed to grind out three late goals and tie the game 6-6 before the Sea Kings ultimately won 7-6.
Top returning players: Information provided by Newbury coach Mike Noble.
- Chasen Colter, senior, attack: First-team All-Marmonte in 2014 and 2015; four-year varsity letterman; scored 33 goals and had a team-high 56 assists last spring.
- Erich Wuestoff, senior, middie: First-team All-Marmonte; four-year varsity letterman; scored a team-high 40 goals last year and was second on the team in ground balls. Committed to NCAA D-III St. Mary’s (Md.).
- Skylar Jimenez, senior, LSM/D: Second-team All-Marmonte; four-year varsity letterman; credited with 29 caused turnovers last year; committed to NCAA D-I Cleveland State.
- Chris Reusch, senior, defender: Four-year varsity letterman; three-year starter.
- Jack Jensen, senior, midfield: Four-year varsity letterman.
- Robbie McInerney, junior, attack: Two-year starter; fourth on the team in goals last year.
- Logan Bertram, junior, middie: Two-year starter; faceoff specialist.
- Andrew Noble, junior, middie: Third-year varsity player; lock-down defender who has skill to dodge on offense.
- Billy Segal, sophomore, middie: 12 goals as a freshman.
- J.T. Shoop, sophomore, middie: 10 goals as a freshman.
2016 Outlook: One does not simply replace a goalie the caliber of Marinelli, but five seniors return off that team, giving the Panthers both talent and experience. It remains to be seen how they play under Noble — wide open or close to the vest — but there is enough talent in the program to warrant at least a No. 9 ranking, if not a little higher.