Crespi has become a solid enough program and has enough talented players returning to easily merit a spot in the preseason Top 10. But one look at their schedule and it’s not hard to imagine the Celts being 1-5 come St. Patrick’s Day.
The Mission League is tough enough, but Coach Brock Livingston lined up a nonleague schedule without a single breather — all eight of Crespi’s nonleague opponents made the playoffs last year. A week from today the Celts open at Thousand Oaks, then play Peninsula, Palos Verdes and Oak Park within 14 days.
It won’t be easy, especially for a team replacing it’s entire starting defense — including two All-Mission League guys — and a 58-point attackman and 29-point middie.
But there is talent returning, especially at the offensive end. If the Celts can develop a defense and survive the scheduling gantlet, they could be in position to make a playoff run like last spring, when they earned the No. 9 seed and won at Agoura and at Harvard Westlake before losing by a goal at Oak Park.
Key returning players: Senior attack Alex Dixon (46 goals, 28 assists), co-player of the year in the Mission league last season. Junior attack/middie Jack Doyle (committed to NCAA D-I St. John’s), who missed last season with a knee injury after recording 11 goals and 27 assists as a freshman. Senior attack Cam Radenberg, who has 49 goals and 49 assists in his three-year varsity career. Senior goalie Nick Enos, who allowed 7.7 goals per game and posted a .556 save percentage last year.
Key nonleague games: at Thousand Oaks, Feb. 28; at Peninsula, March 4; vs. Palos Verdes, March 9; vs. Oak Park, March 13; at Oaks Christian, March 30; vs. Mira Costa, April 1; vs. West Ranch, April 18; vs. Agoura, April 27; at Culver City, April 29.