Last year, Peninsula opened at No. 7 in the US Lacrosse/MaxLaxLA coaches poll and gradually climbed, eventually finishing at No. 3. This year, the Panthers once again open at No. 7 in the poll. Do they have enough to make another steady climb throughout the season? Our Peninsula 2016 preview explores:
Coach: Lane Jaffe; fourth season.
Last season: 16-3 overall; 5-1 Bay League (tied for first place).
2015 playoffs: No. 3 seed; beat El Segundo in first round; lost 11-10 to No. 6-seed Thousand Oaks in second round.
2015 recap: The Panthers lived dangerously all season, winning three overtime games — one in double-overtime. They also were the only LA/Ventura team to beat eventual North Division champion Palos Verdes (in overtime, of course). But their luck ran out in the second round of the playoffs, when their late rally wasn’t enough to overcome visiting Thousand Oaks, which claimed an 11-10 win. Last year’s Peninsula squad was anchored by elite goalie Lance Plonski (two-time All-Bay League) and powered by the offense of attack Colton Michel, now playing at D-III Colby, and middie Brandon Wilson, now playing at D-II Colorado Mesa. Those three, among others, have graduated, but the cupboard is hardly bare.
Top returning players: Information provided by Coach Lane Jaffe.
- Koby Tseng, senior, attack: Koby [pictured, top] will be a four-time starter for the Panthers. He was second-team All-Bay league as a sophomore and first-team as a junior. He is shifty, with a great change of direction and high lax IQ. Koby has benefited from great players around him. This year, he will have the ball in his stick the majority of the time. Koby is the most coachable player on the field. He has received some interest from small D-III colleges but is looking to attend a college that fits his academic interests.
- Kurt Landon, senior, middie: Landon will surprise some people this spring. With his work ethic, he has added some muscle to his compact frame. Kurt has improved every year, and this year he will be the go-to middie for Peninsula. Kurt doesn’t stand out in one area, but he does a little of everything and does it well.
- Scott Phillips, junior, LSM/D: Phillips has verbally committed to D-I Bryant University. He is the best LSM in L.A., if not all of the Southern Section. He is so fluid with getting the ball off the ground and sparking transition. He also has a motor that never stops and can run for days. Phillips will be asked to do a lot with the Panthers this year, staying on the field offensively, as well as playing man-up. Phillips was first-team All-Bay League last year and was second-team as a freshman.
- Kyle Beachboard, junior, attack: Beachboard is a tank. He plays like a Canadian, relying mostly on one hand and backing in defenders. He had a great fall and scored a ton of goals. Once he rounds out his game, he will be a force to reckon with.
2016 Outlook: Finding a goalie has to be the first order of business for the Panthers, who had the luxury of relying on Plonski the last four years. The way their schedule sets up, they have some time to figure that out. The Panthers don’t play a Bay League game until April 12, but then they have two games each against Palos Verdes, Mira Costa and Redondo Union in the space of 17 days. If they can jell as a team by then, they once again can contend for the top of the Bay standings.