Nike/US Lacrosse West Region Report
by Todd Karpovich | LaxMagazine.com
Top PerformersJack Ortlieb, Corona del Mar (Calif.)
Ortleib continues to dominate the competition and had five goals in an 11-4 victory over Thousand Oaks (Calif.). He has also played a vital role in Corona del Mar's 36-game winning streak. Ortlieb will play Division I lacrosse at Holy Cross.
Patrick Tracy, Redwood (Calif.)
Tracy scored four goals and added an assist in Redwood's 10-5 victory over Lincoln (Ore.) at St. Ignatius. Redwood is 10-4 on the season and took No. 1 St. Ignatius (Calif.) to overtime before losing. Tracy has verbally committed to Brown.
Zach Budnick, Curtis (Wash.)
The senior goalie made 10 saves in a 14-5 victory over Bellarmine Prep (Wash.). He also picked up three ground balls and had an assist. Budnick also had 17 saves, along with several key clears, in an 8-7 setback to perennial power Bainbridge (Wash.). He has signed a national letter of intent to play football at Central Washington University.
Games to watch
Arapahoe (Colo.) at Cherry Creek (Colo.) – April 19
The game is the first rematch of the 2012 CHSAA Boys' Lacrosse Championship game. Once again, both teams are two of the best in Class 5A and the game could go a long way in determining playoff seeds. Arapahoe is the top-ranked team in Colorado's coaches poll and Cherry Creek is ranked second.
Palo Verde (Nev.) at Henderson Red (Nev.)
The state's traditional powerhouses faceoff in what could be the biggest game of the regular season. Henderson won the first match 14-9, so Palo Verde will be looking to avenge that setback. Henderson is 11-1 on the season with its only loss coming against Claremont School (Calif.). Palo Verde is 11-4 with three of those losses against tough out-of-state competition.
1. St. Ignatius Prep (Calif.), 12-0
The Wildcats have established themselves as one of the top programs in all of the U.S. and are loaded with Division I talent. In perhaps its toughest game of the season against Redwood (Calif.), Peter Aliman scored with four seconds remaining to tie the game, and then Joe Lang (Harvard) scored the winner in overtime to keep the Wildcats undefeated. St. Ignatius followed that up with dominant non-conference wins over Lincoln (Ore.) and Brophy Prep (Ariz.).
2. Corona del Mar (Calif.), 12-0
The Sea Kings knocked off a talented Mullen (Colo.) team, 15-7 for another non-conference win. Corona del Mar then beat two tough California teams, Los Alamitos (13-2), and Huntington Beach (10-7). Corona del Mar's winning streak is now at 36 games.
3. La Costa Canyon (Calif.), 9-2
The Mavericks are putting together another solid season and are proving to be good ambassadors for California lacrosse. La Costa Canyon picked up a quality non-conference victory against Colorado power Regis Jesuit 5-4 in double overtime. The Mavericks dropped a game to Salesianum (Del.), but then beat St. Augustine Prep (N.J.) and Penn Charter (Pa.).
4. Torrey Pines (Calif.), 9-2
The Falcons bounced back from a loss to No. 1 Cherry Creek with six consecutive victories. Torrey Pines traveled to Colorado to play some of the areas toughest teams and knocked off Cherry Creek and Columbine, but lost to Kent Denver.
5. Cherry Creek (Colo.), 5-4
The Bruins play one the toughest non-conference schedules in the West Coast. Cherry Creek traveled East on spring break and took on St. Paul's (Md.), Severn (Md.) and Penn Charter (Pa.), before heading back West and playing a tough Torrey Pines (Calif.) team. The Bruins came up short in those games, but returned to league play and knocked off Cherokee Trail (Colo.) and Eaglecrest (Colo.).
6. Bellevue (Wash.), 9-2
The Wolverines established their dominance in the Pacific Northwest by winning nine consecutive games against their league opponents and non-conference foes from Oregon and Nevada. Bellevue then traveled to New York and represented themselves well in tight losses to Long Beach (10-5) and Wantagh (8-6).
7. Foothill-Santa Ana (Calif.), 12-4
The Knights had a quality East Coast trip to Massachusetts. After losing to Noble & Greenough 8-5, Foothill bounced back with a 13-2 victory over Wellesley. The Knights finished the trip with a tough 8-6 loss to undefeated Medfield.
8. JSerra Catholic (Calif.), 11-2
The Lions break into the poll this week by handing Palos Verdes (Calif.) its first loss of the season, 8-7. JSerra followed that up with a dominant 16-2 victory over Anaheim Servite (Calif.). The Lions only losses this season are to No. 4 Torrey Pines (Calif.) and No. 7 Foothill-Santa Ana.
9. Cathedral Catholic (Calif.), 10-2
The Dons enter the poll for the first time on the heals of a six-game winning streak against tough, in-state competition, including a 13-11 victory over Poway (Calif.). Cathedral's only losses this season are against No. 3 La Costa Canyon and No. 4 Torrey Pines.
10. Columbine (Colo.), 5-4
The Rebels played dropped three difficult non-conference games against New York powers John Jay Cross River, Fordham Prep and Yorktown. Columbine remains undefeated in Colorado, including a 10-6 victory over Ft. Collins in its first game back from the East Coast trip.
News and Notes
JSerra playing its best lacrosse right now
As a midfielder for John Hopkins, Kyle Harrison played a vital in the Blue Jays' run to the NCAA National Championship in 2005. Now the head coach at JSerra Catholic in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Harrison has his team playing some of the best lacrosse in the program's history.
The Lions are 11-2 and their only losses are to two of the state's top programs — No. 4 Torrey Pines and No. 7 Santa Ana Foothill-Santa Ana. Harrison said the key to this season is players embracing their roles and adapting to different styles of play.
"Loren Ortega does an awesome job controlling possessions for us at the X," Harrison said. "He's had an amazing year and has grown into one of the leaders of our team, which has been fun to watch. We've relied heavily on freshman Anthony DeMaio's finishing ability and high lacrosse IQ to help pace the offense. Our midfielders, lead by senior Cole Schleppy (Providence), junior Brenden Lynch, and sophomore Jake Schleppy have really done a nice job initiating and making the right decision with the ball. We've had a few teams try to slow the game down by playing zones, but our guys have done a nice job staying patient in that situation, and pushing transition opportunities when they're there."
JSerra also has several players who will compete in college, including Schelppy (Providence), defenseman Tucker Guyot (Jacksonville) and attackman Mitchell Kingsley (Hofstra). Sophomore Chaz Dotson, and James Yanes have also already committed to Hofstra.
"I think what makes our team a lot of fun to coach right now is we've got a bunch of guys filling roles, and taking their job seriously no matter what that job is," Harrison said.
The goal now is to win the tough Trinity League, where the Lions have four games remaining. JSerra has two games against St. Margaret's Episcopal, which is 11-4 this season.
"The Trinity League, no matter who is having a strong year and who isn't, will always be competitive," Harrison said. "Across all sports in the Trinity league, there's a very high level of competitiveness between all of the schools, so the games are packed with emotion, energy and physical play. No matter what school is up or down, league games will always be tough."
Bellevue still the team to beat
Bellevue (Wash.) remains in the driver's seat to win the state championship in Washington State, winning all six of its league games so far this season. The Wolverines also did a solid job representing West Coast lacrosse in their spring break trip to New York, beating Port Washington before dropping tight games to Long Beach (N.Y.) and Wantagh (N.Y.).
Bellevue also picked up key non-conference victories over Lincoln (Ore.) and Palo Verde (Nev.). The Wolverines face tough competition against a surging Issaquah (Wash.), which improved to 7-3 on the heels of a five-game winning streak. The Eagles lost to Bellevue 18-10 earlier in the season, but has improved since that game and picked up key non-conference wins in Oregon against Oregon Episcopal and Lake Oswego.
Bringing East Coast lax out West
Cathedral Catholic coach Gordie Mapes likes to say he has brought an East Coast mentality to his lacrosse program. As a former player at Syracuse, Mapes emphasizes toughness, fundamentals and a run-and-gun style of offense to aggressively attack opponents.
The Dons are now 10-2 with their only losses to No. 4 Torrey Pines 8-4, and No. 3 La Costa Canyon 7-5. However, Mapes, now in his third season, can see how his players are developing into complete lacrosse players and can play with anyone in the region.
"We have to learn to win big games as a team and then learn to expect to win those games as a team," said Mapes, who was inducted into US Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2006. "Expectation of winning when you walk on the field is a huge part of sports and any successful program."
Mapes has several players on his roster that have already committed to play in college including Keenan Assaraf (Providence), Taylor Esoldi (Navy), Michael Kay (Drexel) and Spencer Schmitt (Syracuse). Goalie Dave Fleischman has committed to the Merchant Marine Academy, and senior face-off specialist Sam Simmons is also being recruited.
Cathedral Catholic is also competing in the Open Division of the new CIF San Diego Section playoff format, which pits the best teams based on their records and rankings against one another. As a result, the Dons will get an opportunity to play against the area's toughest competition.
"We have some very talented players," Mapes said.
Note: The Nike/US Lacrosse Regional rankings will not necessarily reflect the same order as the Nike/US Lacrosse National Top 25 poll, which is voted on by US Lacrosse area representatives and Lacrosse Magazine contributors, who compile the regional rankings.
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