The Los Alamitos Griffins are looking to pick up where they left off last season. With a final record of 15-5 and a second- round loss to eventual CIF runner-up San Clemente, the Griffins are hoping to take a senior-heavy team, mixed in with some young talent deep into the playoffs.
Los Alamitos High School Griffins
League: Sunset Conference
Last Year: 15-5
Coach: Ben Barchey
Los Alamitos has established itself as a perennial power in Orange County and Coach Ben Barchey thinks that this year will no different. Although the team has lost some big-time contributors to graduation, the team is still heavy in senior leadership and some new young players have stepped up to carry the load.
According to Barchey, the team has been looking solid in the preseason, both in practice and in tournaments. The Griffins went undefeated in the Trabuco Hills preseason tournament and are hoping to show well at the annual Crush Challenge hosted at Foothill High School.
Los Al is led this year by senior midfielder Josh Duhon, who Barchey says is the most unselfish team player he has ever coached. Backing up Duhon are the attack duo of Tyler Miller a junior, and Josh Jenkins (committed to play at D2 Rollins) a senior. All three offensive players were contributors last year and are expected to step up as leaders on and off the field this season.
The Griffins, known for their stingy zone defense, have two players in particular who should be threats on both ends. Senior Chris Hawk (Maritime College) is a bruising defenseman who Barchey see’s as being the anchor and enforcer down low. Senior Casie Mais is more of a double threat both as a defenseman and as a goal scorer. “Mais has one of the best sticks on our team, including short sticks”, said Barchey, “he had a bunch of goals for us last season and we hope he can do the same for us this year.”
The Griffins have a tough schedule and the Sunset League looks tough this year with Huntington Beach and Newport Harbor in the fold. But Barchey is more concerned about his team improving first before winning and losing. ” I like to break our season into three parts”, he said, “The first part we like to see what we need to improve on as a team, the second part is when our league games kick in and win’s and losses become the focus,” he finished,” The third part of our season we focus on getting into the playoffs and putting it all together.”
The Griffins open their season February 23rd when they host Beckman. The game should be a good one as Barchey and Beckman head coach Seth Mahler are longtime friends from their playing days at Whittier College, and are currently playing together for their men’s team, the Newport Beach Lacrosse Club.
—Adam Guy, MaxLaxOC.com