The Eagles made a dramatic run to the L.A. division title game last spring, winning three consecutive one-goal playoff matchups, including a controversial double-overtime win at Newbury Park, before falling to Palos Verdes, 9-6.
But that was a roster loaded with 14 seniors, including four-year goalie Shane Bracken, a 2014 All-American.
While Oak Park isn’t exactly starting over — the Eagles never are — this will be a very different team. But coach Tarik Ergin recently told LaxRatz.com his starting midfield group is probably the best he’s had at Oak Park. Leading that group is junior Brendan Egan, who is committed to Bucknell in the Class of 2017 (he’ll take a post-grad year after graduating Oak Park in 2016). Egan scored 16 goals and had four assists as a sophomore.
Faceoff specialist Josh Rosen, a senior, won 63 percent of his draws last season, so those first middies should have plenty of opportunities to put the ball in the net. The Eagles always develop strong defenders, and the next one might have arrived this year as a freshman — Evan Egan announced Sunday he is committed to North Carolina. His first high school game is Saturday.
Given this team’s history, expect the Eagles to be in the thick of it come May.
Key returning players: Junior middie Brendan Egan; senior M/A Ryan Shorts (12 G, 10 A); senior middie Patrick Lasure (16 G, 5 A); senior attack Owen Consoletti (8 G, 3 A); senior faceoff specialist Josh Rosen; senior LSM Joe Peters.
Key newcomers: Freshman attack Adam Julius, who Ergin described as “small, and not imposing looking, but he has the heart of a lion and has really impressed me so far this preseason.” Freshman defender Evan Egan.
Key games: As an independent team, Oak Park has no league games. Here are a few important matchups to note: Knight’s Challenge (vs. St. Margaret’s, Feb. 28; vs. Loyola, March 4; vs. Los Alamitos, March 7); vs. Newbury Park, March 10; at Crespi, March 13; vs. Thousand Oaks, April 7; at Palos Verdes, April 9; at Agoura, April 14; vs. Westlake, April 20; vs. Oaks Christian, April 27.