2019 may be a breakthrough season for the Yorba Linda boys’ lacrosse team. Fed by a maturing local youth program, the Mustangs have been steadily climbing their way up the Orange County lacrosse hierarchy for several years. This year’s cast will have a strong nucleus of upperclassmen who grew up together in that program and they may have the Mustangs primed for unprecedented post-season success.
“This is the most excited I have been for our program since our first varsity season in 2010,” said head coach Mike Schreiber by email. “Most of this team was part of our youth system when started it. They have been playing together for a long time and know each others tendencies well. We have had some success in the off season at several tournaments and are working hard to prepare for this coming season. The coaching staff and boys are as focused as any team we have had at Yorba Linda and we are excited to get the season started.”
Although the loss of five seniors including attackman Collin McDonald and midfielder Andrew Flanders will sting a bit, the Mustangs have a solid nucleus of juniors and seniors that have been teaming ups since their youth days and getting seasoned on varsity experience since they were freshmen.
Seniors Tyler Krause and Zac Hardison, will keep the offense humming from the attack and midfielder positions, respectively. While Krause and Hardison will focus on keeping that ball in the net at one end of the field, senior LSM Ashton Mathews and junior goalie Jason Bohlinger will focus on keeping the ball out of the net at the other end.
In addition to the returnees from last year’s 13-4 squad, the X-Factor (pun intended) for the Mustangs could be junior faceoff specialist Ryan Henry who recently committed to UMass. After being a First-Team All-League performer as a freshman, Henry missed all of 2018 with an injury. His ability to win possession should give a turbo boost to an already powerful offensive engine and take pressure off the defense.
This year’s schedule may be the most challenging one ever faced by a Yorba Linda team. The Mustangs will face no less than 13 of last year’s playoff contenders and they waste no time in entering the gauntlet. They open the season with Corona del Mar on February 26. Servite, San Clemente, Aliso Niguel, Great Oak, and Santiago all follow in quick succession.