Number 3: San Clemente Tritons

The 2013 Tritons will feature an experienced and lethal offense, a new coach, and a renewed focus on defense. The Tritons are poised to show that the last year’s run to the Orange County finals was just a warmup for what is to come in 2013.

Conference: South Coast League

2012 Record: 15-7; U.S. Lacrosse Division 1 South Finals

Coach: Mike Hutnick

College Commits: Peyton Garrett, A/M, High Point (D1); Jordan Riggs, M, Southwestern (D3)

MaxLaxOC.com Outlook: San Clemente returns plenty of experience and firepower from last year’s team that advanced to the U.S. Lacrosse Division 1 South finals losing 9-6 to unbeaten champion, Corona del Mar. Gone, however, is coach Glen Miles who started the program five years ago but left for St. Margaret’s at the beginning of the summer, and All-America faceoff midfielder Aaron Self (now at Whittier). In at coach is Mike Hutnick, who was JSerra Catholic’s head coach from 2009-2010 and last year served as an assistant coach at Servite.

The high-powered Tritons return two second-team All-Orange County attackmen in senior Robbie Burns and junior Peyton Garrett. Burns, a super slick lefty, set the school’s single-season goal scoring mark last year with 70, and Garrett was named South Coast League’s Offensive Player of the Year after posting a 48 goal, 45 assist season. They’ll be joined on attack by sophomore Jack Renard, who’ll look to replace big crease attackman Jay Kassity (also now at Whittier).

Several all-South Coast League players return as well, led by senior goalie Thomas Ahola, senior midfielder Jordan Riggs and defensemen Stone Sims (junior) and David Anthony (senior).

“This year holds a lot of promise. The goals are set, and set very high,” said Hutnick, who this year was inducted into the Southern New Hampshire University sports Hall of Fame. “We are aiming to reach an even higher level than the past years. The top of the hill is the ultimate goal and we’re planning on fighting hard for that spot.”

The team should be better on defense this year given that Hutnick was an All-American defenseman in college. Tesoro transfer long stick middie Syd Reynolds is one to watch, as is faceoff midfielder Austin Streeter, junior middies Collin Zines, Austin Lickley and Will Bozarth, and long poles Austin McGowan (senior) and Adam Brownell (junior).

“The team is comprised of a fantastic group of young men, that is their biggest strength,” said Hutnick. “They know one another very well which is a huge contributing factor in a teams’ success. They are also a very smart group of individuals, both on the field and in the classroom.”

Key games include Tesoro and El Toro twice, as well as non-league games against St. Margaret’s, Foothill, Great Oak and Corona del Mar.

–MaxLaxOC.com staff