Big battles ahead for Trinity League boys lacrosse teams – Orange County Register

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The boys lacrosse teams in Orange County have completed nearly two-thirds of their season and most leagues are battling in the thick of league play.

But what is considered the best league in the county hasn’t played a league game yet.

The Trinity League is deeper than it has been in a handful of years and has three teams in the top seven of the latest CIF-SS polls.

The most improved team is JSerra, which is off to its best start since 2014 with a 9-0 record. JSerra is having all of this success despite losing its best player, Jack Almy, to an injury in the offseason.

Sophomore Cob Sprague leads the Lions with 42 points, followed by Mason Stephens (31 points) and Gabe Seldow (26 points). All-County goalie Jack Neiger is allowing just three goals per game.

Santa Margarita is 8-2 with an overtime loss to defending champion Foothill and a loss to No. 1 St. Margaret’s. Ryan Winters has 33 points and Zack Kim is on pace to have 100 ground balls this season.

Mater Dei, which has won three consecutive league championships, has impressive wins over Marin Catholic, Corona del Mar and Kent Denver of Colorado. The Monarchs are under first-year head coach Knute Kraus, who has taken over for coach Johnny Rodriguez who is battling ALS.

Jimmy Douglas has 30 goals for the Monarchs and McClaine Cantrell is one of the best long-stick players in the county.

The teams will only play each other once in league, which makes each league game a must-watch event.

AROUND THE COUNTY

• Aliso Niguel beat Dana Hills 16-1 in boys lacrosse Thursday and extended its Sea View League winning streak to 33 games. The Wolverines also have impressive wins over Servite, Huntington Beach and San Clemente.

Detroit-Mercy commit Luke Ewert leads Aliso Niguel along with Mercer signee Ayden Sanchez and highly-ranked junior Tommy Smith.

• St. Margaret’s is the clear No. 1 boys team in the Southern Section thus far, but the Tartans have a brutal three-game stretch coming up. They will Foothill, Mater Dei and Loyola in a stretch from April 9-16. St. Margaret’s senior Austin Hicks (Duke signee ) will likely be the best player on the field in all three of those games.

• University is the highest-ranked boys team in the Division 3 poll and has a very good chance to win its first Pacific Coast League championship. Face-off specialist Koa Saito gives the Trojans much-needed extra possessions and Max Dreben has been a top scorer for them.

• Corona del Mar is 6-2 since its 0-2 start to the season and has impressive wins over San Clemente and Mira Costa. The Sea Kings were set to play Los Alamitos on Friday in a game that would likely decide the Sunset League championship.

• Defenseman Sean Costello of Huntington Beach is near the top of the Orange County leaders in ground balls (59) and takeaways (34).

• In girls lacrosse, Foothill appears to be the best team in the Southern Section, but the gap between the Knights and the rest of the county has closed a bit. The Knights beat Santa Margarita by only one goal on March 14 and had a close game against Mater Dei earlier in the season.

Brynn Perkins has 45 points for Foothill and Kayla Agarie is averaging 6.2 ground balls per game. Sophia Katnik leads the team in caused turnovers, which is important because the Knights aren’t as experienced at goalie as they were last year. Foothill hasn’t lost to a county opponent since 2019.

• Woodbridge midfielder Mady Nolan and St. Margaret’s midfielder Mackenzie Farley lead the Southern Section girls lacrosse in points per game with 8.4 and 8.0 points, respectively.

• El Dorado is the current favorite to win the girls Division 3 championship. Junior attack Miikka Oda is one of the top scorers in the county and Sophie Amidon leads the county in ground balls with 44.

• San Clemente’s girls have a case for best offense in the county with an average of 14 goals per game. Twins Sophia and Charlotte Yeskulsky have combined for 90 points and Taylor Juncaj is making 73 percent of her shots.

The Tritons have scored 50 goals in three South Coast League games this season. San Clemente plays the second-best South Coast League team, San Juan Hills, on April 9 and follow that with a game against Foothill.

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