Foothill lacrosse is nothing if not expansive and deep. Throughout their years of domination in Orange County, they always seem to produce plenty of players; some show up senior year and become a top player in the county, while others make their skills known very early in their career. No matter who exactly plays in a Foothill game, you can be assured that they have earned the spot by beating their other numerous teammates for the spot.
Entering the 2015 season, Foothill has the proverbial target on its back. After taking a two-year break from rings, Foothill reclaimed the CIF SS title last season, knocking off JSerra in the championship game after posting a 21-1 mark (only loss was 14-13 to San Diego power Torrey Pines) . The Knights have reloaded countless times in the past (actually, five times when they won the championship five years in a row), and that experience and confidence in the rich system of players they produce continues to give them success.
What We Know
Foothill is loaded. Senior attack man Nate Marano leads the team offensively, last year earning All-America honors to go with First-Team All-County and Player of the West recognition. The powerful lefty has committed to play college ball at Denver, and last year set the school scoring record with 111 points (topping Cameron Cole’s 105 in 2010). Marano also surpassed the previous goals record of 76 held by Eric Adamson (2011). Fellow attackman Kevin Kodzis (Holy Cross) complements Marano greatly in the Knight’s offensive system. Kodzis plays a very smart and tactile brand of lacrosse. Junior attackman Nathan Skeen was the OCVarsity Athlete of the Week for his performance vs De La Salle last year. Senior Drew Boyd who scored 19 goals last year will step into the senior leadership role that was vacated by Nick Matzek’s graduation.
Nate’s twin brother Matt Marano is a versatile and under-rated close defenseman who can put points on the board. He finished last season with 5 goals, 2 assists, 37 groundballs and 17 takeaways. Matt will team up with returning senior Danny Carter (Second Team All County, 43 groundballs, 38 takeaways), and senior Spensor Davis to round out the starting defense. Davis transitions to close d from LSM to fill the void left by Owen Geiss‘ graduation.
Junior goalie Ryan Blank is soon to be a collegiate keeper at St Johns. Austin Babb (Ottawa commit) is a dominant face-off middie who gives Foothill a chance every time.
New To The Scene
Foothill is deep. Few could argue that some of the JV players and varsity back-ups would have a legitimate chance of starting at many other programs throughout the county. Look no further than Adamson, who this season was named a pre-season First-Team All American at Denver University. Adamson played on the Foothill freshman team his freshman year and JV his sophomore season. Here are some names that you may not be familiar with now, but probably will be by the end of April.
Junior Jared Copeland will fill in for Davis at LSM. The athletic Copeland was an all-league running back this year . If the ball is on the ground and he is in the vicinity, it won’t be on the ground for long. He finished his sophomore year with 40 groundballs and 11 takeaways in a part time role.
Junior Chris Reem was a second team All League receiver for the football team this year. He will continue his role as the starting short stick defensive midfielder. He is capable of clearing coast to coast at any time.
Cole Falbo is a sophomore midfielder, and freshman Ellis Geis is looking to become the next great Foothill attackman.
A Six-Championship Philosophy
If one were to look back at Orange County lacrosse records, they’d notice that Foothill has made a staggering number of playoffs since the introduction of lacrosse to OC. Since 2001, Foothill has been to the finals every year except for 2005, 2012, and 2013. Everyone’s always known Foothill was exceptional, but when you realize the shear amount of times they have been to the finals it becomes clear that Foothill lacrosse expects to make it to the finals. The program is built of the expectation that the team will play another Orange County team, on a Wednesday night in May. Some might speculate that Coach Jon Fox is a slave driver who shouts and screams until he gets what he wants. This couldn’t be further form the truth. In fact, Foothill has built this expectation simply because of their tried and true philosophy. The teams aims for excellence by embracing the game and playing it to be the best they can be. By holding standards of consistency, hard work, fundamental play, and a team first mentality Foothill has been able to create talented players that accept the expectation of a finals game.
Play Tough, Get Tough
As an independent, Foothill can play anyone it wants and annually loads up to face a Top 5 schedule. This year, Fox is taking the Knights back to the East Coast again over spring break to face top teams in Massachusetts. Locally, Foothill will play St. Margaret’s, JSerra, San Clemente, Tesoro and Santa Margarita, as well as San Diego powers Cathedral Catholic, Torrey Pines and La Costa Canyon, LA’s pre-season No. 1 Palos Verdes, and Bay Area power De La Salle.