With a young roster loaded with five Division 1 commits and former Johns Hopkins star Kyle Harrison on the sidelines as its coach, JSerra has more star power than any team in the OC. The Lions looked like the team to beat in this winter’s tournaments. Does pre-season success equal post-season success?
JSerra Catholic Lions
League: Trinity League
Last Year: 10-9
Coach: Kyle Harrison
College Commits: M Cole Schleppy, Providence (D1); D Chaz Dotson, Hofstra (D1); A Mitch Kingsley, Hofstra (D1); A Jimmy Yanes, Hofstra (D1); D Tucker Guyot, Jacksonville (D1)
MaxLaxOC.com Outlook: The young Lions cut their teeth last year but are primed and ready to lay claim to the title of “Orange County’s Best.” Coach Kyle Harrison (former Johns Hopkins All-American midfielder and D1 Player of the Year) has a roster loaded with talent that boasts five players who have committed to play D1 lacrosse and a handful of sophomores and juniors who will surely do so in the coming year.
“Anytime you lose players like Ryan Suttle, Troy Janikowski and Hunter Kimpler, you’ve got some big shoes to fill,” said Harrison. “We’re going to rely heavily on our senior class to lead our team and continue to teach and push our young guys to compete on a daily basis. We’re expecting a lot from Cole Schleppy (1st Team All Trinity League), and Lorin Ortega both as leaders and for production on the field. Both have been doing a great job stepping into leadership roles in the off-season. We’re expecting both our sophomores and juniors to really mature this year and produce on both ends of the field. We feel like we’ve got a good amount of depth in the midfield, and in the defensive end of the field.”
The strength of the Lions is offense, led by senior midfielder Schleppy who likely will emerge as Orange County’s top midfielder this year. On attack, a pair of Hofstra commits—Mitch Kingslely and Jimmy Yanes– will team up to form one of the county’s most potent attack combos. Add sophomore middies Logan Olmsted, Yuta Murata and Jake Schleppy, Cole’s younger brother along with junior speedster Brendon Lynch, and JSerra looks potent.
Defensively Harrison has two D1 commits in Chaz Dotson (Hofstra) and Tucker Guyot (Jacksonville) who will anchor the defense. A major loss for the Lions was the mid-year transfer of sophomore goalie Gunner Garn, who left the school and transferred to Tesoro. Goalie duties now rest with Holden Milner.
Their schedule this year is loaded, and Trinity League play will be challenging with Top 10 foes in Santa Margarita and St. Margaret’s. They also play at Torrey Pines this year, which will be a key test of Orange County talent vs. San Diego’s best.
“During my short time in OC, I’ve watched the competition level continue to rise, and I think as good coaches continue to move to the area, I think we’ll see that trend continue,” said Harrison. “Players are getting better and better, and going on to the D1 level to compete. Competition is a good thing for everyone, and it’s exciting to see the level of play continue to rise.”
— MaxLaxOC.com staff