The Panthers finished 16-4 last season, with the four losses coming by a combined eight goals, including the double-overtime heartbreaker to Oak Park in the second round of the Southern Section playoffs. Though they graduated some key players, there was enough talent returning at every position that looking ahead to 2015 could ease some of that sting.
Then came a sudden coaching change, with the school deciding not to bring back Tim Penix after two seasons. New coach Grant Kaleikau wasn’t hired until early November, leaving a bit of a gap in the offseason program. Nevertheless, Kaleikau inherits a ton of talent, which is why Newbury enters the season at No. 5 in our countdown.
Senior goalie Mikey Marinelli and senior defender Chucky Smith return from a defense that allowed only 4.6 goals per game last year. Both were named All-American in 2014. Marinelli is committed to NCAA D-III Dickinson.
The Panthers also return plenty of offensive talent. If the players jell with their new coach, this has the makings of a formidable team.
Key returning players: Junior attack Chasen Colter (50 goals, 36 assists); senior attack Preston Hill (34 goals, 8 assists); junior middie Erich Wuestoff (24 goals, 7 assists); senior goalie Mike Marinelli; senior defender Chucky Smith.
Key newcomers: Coach Grant Kaleikau, a two-time All-American attackman at Delaware, has coached with the Buku Lacrosse club in Orange County and, more recently, joined 3d LA.
Key nonleague games: at Oak Park, March 10; vs. Oaks Christian, March 20; at Mira Costa, March 30; at Chaminade, April 27.