West Linn boys lacrosse hopes to challenge again
West Linn's boys approached the summit of Oregon high school boys lacrosse last season.
The Lions went unbeaten in the regular season, won 20 straight games and advanced all the way to the semifinals of the Oregon High School Lacrosse Association playoffs before losing in overtime to eventual state champion Oregon Episcopal School.
Now, the Lions are ready to make that climb again.
While West Linn graduated six all-league seniors (five of whom went on to win all-state honors), there's plenty of talent back to lead the team in 2018.
"We may start slowly with a lot of new faces seeing significant varsity play for the first time and some key returners out with injuries, (but) once we are healthy, we hope to compete for the league title," said West Linn coach Mark Flood, the 2017 Three Rivers League Coach of the Year.
This year's team features five additional returning all-leaguers, that group led by first-team all-league and first-team all-state attack Ross Scott, a junior captain, and Reed Rissberger, a second-team all-league and honorable mention all-state long stick middle.
Scott is "quick and a relentless dodger from (the X position)," Flood said, adding that Rissberger is a "leader of the defense at midfield. He can cover and … create havoc for the opponent (and he's) very strong on ground balls and clears."
There's more talent back, too, including senior midfielder Cody Fretwell (a second-team all-leaguer), senior defense A.J. Krakauer (an honorable mention pick) and senior attack Jacob Park (another honorable mention selection), who's currently working his way back from an injury.
Fretwell, another team caption, is a "great shooter on the run, an excellent short stick defender and can clear the ball on his own with his speed and field vision," Flood said, adding that Krakauer is the leader of the defense, a player with "great spatial awareness. He picks off or disrupts passing lanes very well, and is a good one-on-one defender and good stick handler."
Around the rest of the lineup, the Lions will look to junior Michael Stell, sophomore Ethan Loun and junior Lucas Hockman at attack, senior Max Michelon and senior Mitchell Peterson at midfield, senior Chris Comings and senior Seth Cornelius at defense, junior Isaac Sebastian and sophomore Eli Thayer at long stick middle and close defense, sophomore Grant Balsbough at close defense and junior Mason Kohne at goalkeeper.
Michelon and Peterson "both should score a lot of goals," Flood said, adding that Mitchell will also handle some of the team's faceoffs.
Also due for varsity time this year are junior Anders Martenson at midfield, junior Clint Berggren at midfield, sophomore Zach Vannaman as a two-way midfielder, junior Carson Bradford at goalkeeper, sophomore James Rowan at goalkeeper and sophomore Spencer (Bubba) Edwards at midfield (he will also take some faceoffs).
Other varsity players on this year's varsity team are: sophomore defender Grant Balsbough; junior attack Logan Bianchi; senior midfielder Bryan Chapman; sophomore midfielder Chase Fletcher; sophomore attack Ethan Loun; senior midfielder Qawi Ntsasa; sophomore midfielder Kobe Ritter; and junior defense/long stick middle Isaac Sebastian.
In TRL play, Flood said he believes that Lakeridge should be considered the favorite, with West Linn and Lake Oswego both in contention.