The West Region preview, presented by LaxRecords.com features a four-part series. Part three goes state-by-state to look at some of the teams in the region.
Notre Dame Prep (Ariz.) seeks its fourth-straight Division I championship this season. A rematch with last year’s runner-up, Brophy Prep (Ariz.) takes place on Feb. 28. Last year, the team’s split their meetings with Brophy taking the regular season meeting and NDP winning 8-7 in the championship game.
Aliso Niguel (Calif.) went 9-7 last year and won the Sea View League championship. They return 15 players, including attackmen Tommy Walsh and Jeffrey Hoang. With lacrosse a CIF sanctioned sport, Aliso Niguel should be a contender for the CIF Southern Section D2 title.
Foothill (Calif.) was the CIF-Southern Section runner-up last season and returns 20 players to the lineup, including Utah commit Joey Garcia in goal. The attack unit features Troy Hofer and Andrew Cumming. Cumming passed 200 career points after his junior season. In an abbreviated junior campaign, Cumming scored 54 points in 15 games. In 24 games as a sophomore, the attackman scored 105 points. Luke Pearson, Josh Anderson, and Caden Salkeld return on defense.
La Costa Canyon (Calif.) brings back Noah Beacham (Maryland) to help anchor the midfield. Head Coach Kevin Cooper also returns attackman Alex Fairman (Babson) who will help an offense that scored 248 goals last season. Dartmouth commit Hunter Binney returns in goal.
La Jolla (Calif.) went 17-1 and reached the CIF Open semifinal last season. Head Coach Kyle Smedley brings back 17 players, including Isaac Schultz (defense), Sean Ryan (defense), Jack Wiese (midfield), Darius Stanley (midfield), Tynan Walsh (attack).
Sacred Heart Prep (Calif.) finished last season with an 18-4 record and returns several of its top players. Defenders Alex Bean (Loyola) and Paul Barton (North Carolina) will help anchor a defense that allowed 160 goals last season. Midfielders Billy Barnds (Princeton) and Ben Ramsey (Notre Dame) return at midfield with face-off specialist Joey Dahlkemper (High Point). The Gators play early games against Loyola-Los Angeles and St. Ignatius Prep along with games against Foothill-Santa Ana and Torrey Pines later in the season.
Palos Verdes (Calif.) gets a new head coach in Lane Jaffe, who takes over for Jimmy Borell. Jaffee has returnees Brandon Clark (Mount St. Mary’s), Cole Clinton (Sacred Heart), Brad Sharp (Yale) and Jordan White (University of New England) to ease the transition into the head job. The Sea Kings have a key out-of-state game against defending Texas Division I champion Episcopal Dallas in mid-March, immediately followed by a road game at Loyola-Los Angeles.
Pat Watson led San Ramon Valley (Calif.) to a 17-2 record last season with a big win over St. Ignatius Prep. The Wolves do have the Wildcats on the schedule this season on March 3, in addition to a road game to take on Sacred Heart Prep late in the season. Watson returns a pair of Swarthmore commits in Carter Strauch (attack) and Alex Strauch (defense).
St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.) returns 25 players and six college commits from a team that won the WCAL championship. Attackman Wells Bligh (2021) along with Henry Niehaus (Brown) at midfield and Duke Reeder (Cornell) on defense highlight some of the returning players. Head Coach Chris Packard said the team will have an all new starting midfield and two new close defensemen in front of senior goalie Gianluca Billante. Two junior fogos will battle for the starting spot.
St. Margaret’s Episcopal (Calif.) lost two big players to graduation: Kevin Groeninger and Stu Pollard. Head Coach Glen Miles has put together a schedule that includes Loyola-Los Angeles (Calif.), Foothill-Santa Ana, Sacred Heart Prep (Calif.) and Palos Verdes.
Torrey Pines (Calif.) was considered the No. 1 team in the West last season and has a strong argument for that title in 2020. There are 11 Falcons already committed to play in college, including two from the attack line, Christian Rasmussen (Brown) and Blake Erlbeck (Syracuse). Bobby Gavin (Virginia) returns in goal and anchors a defense that boasts Conrad Delgado (Notre Dame), Ethan Graubart (Bellarmine), Dane DeGoler (Boston) and Tyler Blackburn (Brown). Head Coach Jono Zissi has his team playing all the contenders for No. 1 in the West, including St. Ignatius Prep, Loyola-Los Angeles, Cherry Creek, Arapahoe and Poway. They also play some of the best in Texas in The Woodlands (Texas), Highland Park (Texas) and Dallas Jesuit (Texas).
Arapahoe (Colo.) went 14-3 last year and was the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. Twenty players, including two Division I commits in Josh Carlson (Denver) and Trevor Douglas (Furman). Head Coach Logan Bobzien said the strength of the team will be its depth at midfield and attack.
Dawson School (Colo.) had a rebuilding year last season, finishing 6-9, but 10 players return, including goalie Dawson Santangelo (Tampa). Head Coach Pete Devlin said the attack and midfield units should be improved this season.
Cherry Creek (Colo.) returns 25 players and 11 college commits to a team that is the defending state champion. The Bruins boast dept at midfield and defense with five of their top 7 poles and eight of their 10 midfielders returning. The Bruins take on two of the best in the West Region in Torrey Pines and St. Ignatius Prep this season.
Cheyenne Mountain (Colo.) has reached the Class 4A title game in each of the last two seasons, coming away with a state championship in 2018. Head Coach Mike Paige returns midfielder James LaCerte (Denver)
Golden (Colo.) won the Class 4A state title last year and returns 18 players, including senior face-off specialist Justin Peterson. Other returnees include Kevin Mulligan (midfield) and Dylan Maddox (LSM).
Kent Denver (Colo.) has two players already committed to Division I programs in Maxwell Hewitt (Army) and (Princeton) along with Tufts commit Joey Waldbaum. The Sun Devils went 15-4 last season and reached the Class 5A title game against Cherry Creek. The Sun Devils have reached the state title game in each of the last two seasons.
Regis Jesuit (Colo.) and Cherry Creek have rotated championships since 2014 with Regis taking home the title in even-numbered seasons. Head Coach Jim Soran brings back Division I commits Jack Ringhofer (Princeton) and Vincent Mata (Air Force). Tampa commit Keegan Daley returns to the midfield.
Valor Christian (Colo.) won back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, but haven’t reached the title game since. With a host of college commits, Head Coach Josh Hoffman could have the Eagles competing for a title. Trey Digby (Denver), Alexander Stingley (Colorado Mesa) and Xander Stingley (Colorado Mesa) anchor the defense along with goalie Mitchell Gutgsell (Air Force).
Palo Verde (Nev.) went 20-6 last season en route to its second consecutive title. This year, the Panthers will take on a Duke City (N.M.) team that boasts one of the longest active winning streaks in the nation. They also take on out-of-state teams Lincoln (Ore.), Juanita (Wash.) and Bainbridge Island (Wash.).
Beaverton (Ore.) enters year two of a complete rebuild of the program. After winning the state championship in 2016 the program ran into some trouble losing both coaches and players. When Coach Sanford was hired in September 2018 to rebuild the program the team had six committed players who had played before. They managed to carve out 4 hard fought wins in 2019 and return with a lot of new talent in 2020. The team’s strengths will be a freshman class with several players who have played on the club circuit as well as strong senior leadership on both sides of the ball. Seniors Ben Mungai (2020) and Drew Field (defense) lead the returnees.
Lakeridge (Ore.) was LaxNumbers No. 1 team last season and reached the Final Four. The Pacers fell to state champ Lake Oswego 12-11 in overtime to end their season. The return of face-off specialist Jack Savage (Syracuse) and midfielders Cody Hart (Virginia) and Thiago Archar (Westminster) could have Lakeridge back in contention.
Sunset (Ore.) was another Final Four team last season and returns one of the state’s best defenders in Ajax Zappitello (Maryland). Calder Gallagher (Towson) leads the attack unit and should reach 300 career points and has a shot at becoming the second player in state history to reach 400.
Gavin Wallace (Colorado Mesa) returns to an Eastlake (Wash.) team that won its second consecutive championship in 2019. A midseason road trip that pits the Wolves against Grandview (Colo.), Highlands Ranch (Colo.) and Columbine (Colo.) before an April 16 game against Mercer Island will be among its toughest stretch of the season.
Issaquah (Wash.) made it to the Class 4A Quarterfinal last season and has depth and experience returning. Gaje Gunter returns at face-off after scooping up more than 200 ground balls and leading the team in assists last season. Kolton Maans returns in goal and has been on varsity since his freshman year.
Juanita (Wash.) is a contender for the Class 3A title. The Rebels boast an attack unit comprised of Bode Maurer (Towson) and Vin Maxwell (Colgate). Head Coach Stephen Ruane has put together a schedule that finishes up with games against Issaquah, Mercer Island and Skyline (Wash.).
Mercer Island (Wash.) brings back Will Wheeler (Villanova) from a team that won the Class 3A title last season. Overall, 22 players return, including Danny Scalzo (Queens College) and Chris Cherberg (LSM) on defense. The Islanders take their traditional East Coast trip with games against Cape Henlopen (Del.), Westfield (Va.) and Broadneck (Md.).
Drew Snider has won back-to-back Private School Championships with O’Dea (Wash.). The Fighting Irish play eight of its final nine games on the road this season, including games La Costa Canyon (Calif.) and La Jolla (Calif.).