As lacrosse grows on the West Coast, many premier players and programs have already had an impact on America’s oldest game. The Western Region offers interesting cross-state games as well as highly-touted Division I players making a name for themselves west of the Mississippi. From key conference games to the Patriot Cup in Texas, the following games are ones not to miss this spring.
Cherry Creek Bruins (CO) vs. Fort Collins Vipers (CO), March 6
The early season match-up for these two Rocky Mountain powerhouses is a must-see game. Cherry Creek is headed by attackman Michael Beimford, an Ohio State recruit, who makes his teammates better. Defensively, the Bruins are in good hands with Zach Arthur, headed to Hobart. The Vipers might have the state’s toughest schedule and will be tested early. With a talented lineup featuring two Division I recruits, the Vipers are ready to make a statement in early March. Junior defender Brett Newman is the premier player at his position in the state of Colorado.
Fort Collins Lambkins (CO) at Highland Park Fighting Scots (TX), March 21
Fort Collins will head south to face one of the most dominant teams in Texas for the Patriot Cup. Highland Park is the defending Texas champion and is reloaded to make another run at a state title. The experienced Scots will rely on their senior leadership to take down one of Colorado’s finest. The Lambkins’ tough schedule continues, as they travel to the Lone Star state for elite competition. Look for a great match-up between Brett Newman of Fort Collins and Kevin Frits of Highland Park.
Mullen Mustangs (CO) at Arapahoe Warriors (CO), April 8
Two of the best teams in Colorado face off in a game slated to be a terrific midseason test. Arapahoe has a new coaching staff but features tons of talent ready to shine in 2009. Attackman Ryan Parietti and midfielders Drew Babb and Eric Law make Araphoe very dangerous offensively. Mullen has eight returning starters and three Division I recruits and will likely cause match-up problems for most teams. Expect this game to be a high-scoring affair.
La Costa Canyon Mavericks (CA) vs. Kent Denver Sun Devils (CO), April 8
The Mavericks, one of West Coast’s elite squads, travel to Denver to play one of Colorado’s finest in the Sun Devils. La Costa Canyon has won three of the last four San Diego Section championships and are favorites again this spring. Defenseman Spencer Peterson, a Duke recruit, will be handed the tough task of covering Sun Devil attackman Frazier Cavness, who’s headed to Dartmouth. Kent Denver has a deep and talented team plus home field advantage.
St. Ignatius Prep Wildcats (CA) at Robert L. Stevenson Pirates (CA), April 13
This big-time Central Coast Section game will be for bragging rights to be the elite team in the area. The Wildcats have always been one of the best teams in California, and this year should be no different with many players headed to Division I programs on the roster. Stevenson returns half of its starting lineup and certainly has the talent to upend St. Ignatius this year. Junior attackman Tyler Allen likely needs a big game for the Pirates to come away victorious. This game may well prove to be one of the best match-ups the Golden State has to offer in ’09.
Kent Denver Sun Devils (CO) vs. Cherry Creek Bruins (CO), April 17
Kent Denver is widely regarded as the top team in the state and will be tested by a talented Cherry Creek team in a game that could turn out to be a preview of the state championship. Armed with one the best midfielders in the state in Patrick Murray, combined with attackman and Dartmouth recruit Frazier Cavness, the Sun Devils will be difficult to beat.
Sante Fe Christian Eagles (CA) vs. Bishop School Knights (CA), May 5
Two of the best players on the West Coast meet in this early May contest. Sante Fe attackman Hayden Schutte has a knack for scoring, as evidenced by his 69 goals last year. The scoring machine faces a Knights squad that features a stiff defense led by defenseman Nick Eggemeyer. The Bishop School does not lack for experience, with 14 seniors and eight returning starters. They have the tools to be an elite team in California. Look for some great individual match-ups and a thrilling battle in Southern California.
Lincoln Cardinals (OR) vs. Bainbridge Island Spartans (WA), May 9
This cross-state match-up pits two of the best teams in their respective states. defending Oregon state champion Lincoln features standout midfielder Peter Baum, a Colgate recruit. With four starters back from last year’s team, the Cardinals should be able to represent Oregon well against one of Washington’s finest. Bainbridge Island is loaded with Division I talent and will look to use its athleticism. Attackman Sam Snow, a Fairfield recruit, is great at creating his own shot and making plays for his teammates. This battle should be entertaining and give people a glimpse of the talent coming from Pacific Northwest teams today.
Curtis Vikings (WA) at Mercer Island Islanders (WA), May 15
Curtis will need a good game plan against Mercer Island, a squad that returns nine seniors from a team that went to the state semifinals last season. The Islanders feature dangerous sharpshooter Daniel Shields at attack. Their defense is young but very talented, with junior netminder Hap Giraud leading the charge. The Vikings are poised to make a run behind midfielder and Maryland recruit Landon Carr. For the Vikings to come out victorious, they will likely need Carr’s supporting cast to step up. This late season match-up will have big implications with the playoffs looming.