Look Strong in Vegas

Comprised of some of the best players and coaches in Orange County,  the are a force to be reckoned with at every tournament.   This past weekend at the Tournament in Las Vegas was no different.  Two of the OC Kings teams reached the semi-finals, and the 2018 took home a tournament championship.  Here’s a recap of all the OC Kings action from the weekend:

With over a dozen NCAA bound players and Foothill head coach patrolling the sidelines, the 2015 team is the flagship of the OC Kings. The 2015s competed in the   Elite division, the most competitive division of the tournament.   In their first matchup of the tournament the Kings defeated a solid Elite team 10-6 by dominating faceoffs and capitalizing on excellent goaltending from (Foothill High School).   The Kings faced  a high octane Zip It Elite team in their next game.  Strong performances from Jake Schleppy (JSerra Catholic High School), and Nico Houser (Santa Margarita Catholic High School) could not compensate for missed opportunities and too many pipe-ringing near misses as the Kings lost 7-3.    In the third game of the day the Kings found themselves down three goals to Vegas Starz Elite.  Led by the determination of Nate Marano (Foothill) and James Yanes (JSerra), the Kings came back to tie the Vegas Starz Elite Black 8-8, and finish the day with a 1-1-1 record and the fifth seed in Sunday’s playoff round.  Despite playing well in their quarterfinal rematch against Zip It, the 2015 team’s hopes for a tournament championship were dashed with an 8-7 loss.

The 2016 OC Kings, led by head coach (St. Margaret’s Episcopal), reached the semi-finals of the Gatorade Elite Division in a strong showing. In a game that was defined by fast paced offense and stellar defense, the 2016 Kings opened the tournament  with a 9-2 victory over 395 Starz Black.  Midfielder  Garret Hoang (Aliso Niguel High School) and LSM Mason Leavitt (El Toro High School) paced the opening victory.  Superior ball control and some noteworthy defense from (St. Margaret’s) and (Foothill) led the 2015s to a 5-3 victory over Force LC in the second game on Saturday. Their last game of pool play was against 2016, and sloppy play led to a 7-4 loss. Their 2-1 record on Saturday earned the 2016 Kings the #4 seed for the playoff round. In a quarterfinal matchup against always tough Carolina,the Kings came away win a hard-fought 8-7 win led by attackman ’s (Foothill) vision and Jake Aho’s (Esperanza High School) ability to finish on the inside. Firing on all cylinders the Kings looked ready to make a run for the championship, but would have to get through 2016 to do it. While the Kings played much better in their rematch against Seattle they still were on the wrong side of the scoreboard, losing 6-4 in a closely contested semifinal.

In a tough opening matchup the 2017 OC Kings lost a nail-biter to the Jr. Rhinos Black.  The game featured great defense and superb goaltending from (Foothill).  Led by Chapman University coach Danny Kirkpatrick , this Kings team was resilient and would not let that opening loss set them back. The Kings bounced back in their next game easily beating the Mustang Starz Gold team 7-2.   The Kings finished off an impressive opening day of lacrosse with another commanding win against the Force LC 7-3 to earn the #3 seed.  The 2017 Kings started Sunday with a very competitive game against RC Silver.  A back and forth matchup with RC Silver highlighted by outstanding defense led to a 4-4 tie at the end of regulation.   (Foothill)  drilled home the OT winner to get his teammates into the semi-finals.  Another close contest in the semi-finals came right down to the wire, but Seattle Starz proved to be too tough as the Kings fell 6-5. The 2017 Kings finished the weekend with a 4-2 record and only lost to the two teams who eventually competed for the championship.

A 7am faceoff might be difficult for some players to adjust to, but under the helm of (Aliso Niguel) the 2018 Kings team woke up with championship aspirations that led to a resounding 10-2 opening win over Alpha. In their second game of the day the Kings continued to show impressive skill and teamwork by handedly defeating the Blackhawks 7-1. To finish out pool play the 2018 Kings continued rolling through the competition with another big 10-2 win over 395 Starz. With Attackmn (Foothill ) and (Trabuco Hills High School),  goalie  , and defenseman (Santa Margarita) all stood out for the 2018 Kings.

Saturday’s three victories and 27-5 goal differential earned the 2018 Kings the #1 seed for Sunday’s playoffs and an opening matchup against Sala Starz. A 9-1 victory advanced the Kings to the semi-finals against a formidable Laxdawgs squad.  Another impressive defensive effort carried the Kings to a 9-3 victory, and a berth in the championship game against Seattle Starz 2018.   Being the undefeated #1 and #2 ranked teams respectively this would be a much tougher game than the Kings had seen so far, and once again they did not disappoint. With up and down play usually showcased on collegiate or professional fields these two freshman squads battled it out in an epic championship match. Dominating at the faceoff X and with key goals throughout the tournament (Santa Margarita) came in clutch during the championship game.  Coming down to the last few minutes the 2018 Kings were able to pull off the undefeated weekend, and bring home the Maverik High School Championship.

Congratulations to all the OC Kings players who made an impressive showing over the weekend, and good luck in Del Mar in January!