We wrap up our look at junior-class players to watch in the area this season with specialists — face-off middies, long-stick middies and goalies. While picking out an LSM and a goalie to spotlight was fairly easy, the same can not be said for face-off middies, where two players stood out from a solid group of juniors.
Here are some junior specialists to watch:
Aidan Hesse, Loyola, and Matt Parham, Thousand Oaks
Since it was nearly impossibly to choose between these two junior face-off specialists, we took the easy way out and decided to spotlight them both as players to watch.
Hesse, who won 65 percent of his draws last season and earned first-team all-Mission League, was as a big a factor as any in Loyola’s US Lacrosse Southern Section title run. He also was named second-team Greater LA South All-Area and was selected for the West roster at Under Armour Underclass Tournament.
Parham followed up a freshman season in which he was named second-team all-Marmonte League after helping the Lancers reach the US Lacrosse North semifinals with a sophomore season in which he won 73 percent of his draws and was named first-team all-Marmonte. He also scored two goals and had 13 assists last spring.
Also: Colin Fitt, Palos Verdes (second-team all-Bay); Devin Bonney, El Segundo (missed last year to injury); Alejandro Ruiz, Mira Costa.
Cooper Isaacs, Agoura
Isaacs was named second-team all-Marmonte League at long-stick middie after collecting 79 ground balls (4.6 per game) and causing 48 turnovers (2.8 per game) as a sophomore. He is a disruptive force on the perimeter and cat-quick at picking balls off the ground and starting transition. He scored one goal and had four assists last year.
JJ Barry, Palos Verdes
In limited action last year playing behind senior Connor Jongewaard, Barry posted a 2.9 goals-against average and a .625 save percentage. Palos Verdes coach Jimmy Borell described him as a “ridiculously quick goalie with great hands and a lot of speed.” Barry committed earlier this week to NCAA Division II Colorado Mesa.
Also: Trevor Clark, Sierra Canyon (all-Gold Coast League).