With Skyline and Waterford making the jump to D-I, the Salt Lake Conference has welcomed Northridge and Woods Cross into their mix in hopes of becoming one of the better D-II conferences. It was a tough go around for remaining members of the conference in 2013, but with new season brings renewed hope. Only one of its current members had a winning record in 2013 (Northridge) but each team has been working hard in the off-season to prove they can compete with the best teams out there.
East Leopards2013 Record: 6-9 (3-2)
2013 Playoffs: 5th seed, lost to Lehi in First Round
The Leopards are led by a new coach, Ryan Cantwell, who will look to get the Leopards in top shape for the 2014 season. Senior captain and 2013 Second Team All-State selection Mike Anderson, senior attackman Sam Parkin, sophomore midfielder Mike Vetter and junior goalie Kort Johnson will lead the team.
“I have only been with the team since September and Mike Vetter is the hardest working kid I have been around,” said Cantwell. “He will be our face-off specialist and I believe he will be one of the best in the state. Mike Anderson is a stud at the midfield. He has a great shot, physical defense, and great leadership. Kort is going to anchor our defense. In fall ball he made big saves when we needed it and got our team going. Sam is a shifty, tough as nails attackman. He has a good lacrosse IQ and can help get teammates open or find space for a shot.”
Other players to watch for this season will be attackman Jager Chynoweth, defender Jonny Woolstenhulme and defender Noah Kirk who is another captain for the Leopards.
Toughest three game stretch: April 28 v. Skyline, April 30 v. Fremont, May 1 @ Box Elder. Playing three games in four days will be a tough challenge for any team but the Leopards will be ready to take on D-I Skyline, a pesky Fremont team and a solid Box Elder squad.
Highland Rams2013 Record: 4-12 (2-3)
2013 Playoffs: 7th seed, lost to Mountain Crest in First Round
The 2014 version of the Rams will be a young squad after graduating 22 players from last years team. Connor Weight will be back to lead the defense along with seniors Tucker Francis and Keanu Netzler at attack.
Rivalry game: April 8 v. East. The rivalry between Highland and East goes way back and is just getting good in the lacrosse side. Highland dominated the first several years, but East has won the last two years.
2013 Record: 8-5 (3-1 in Davis Conference)
2013 Playoffs: 6th seed, lost to Sky View in First Round
The Knights graduated two 2013 Second Team All-State players in Danny Bell and Zach Winter, but return sophomore attackman Cade Poll who had 27 goals and 12 assists last season. Calvin Bachtar will be back between the pipes for the Knights who are looking to get back to the playoffs and make a nice playoff run.
Toughest four game stretch: March 22 @ Bonneville, March 24 @ Logan, March 25 @ Woods Cross, March 27 v. Weber. I tried to stay with just three games, but looking at the Knights schedule, this set of games stood out. This will surely test the depth of the Knights. If they can come away at 2-2, they’ll be in good shape.
West Jordan Jaguars2013 Record: 3-9 (1-4)
2013 Playoffs: 8th seed, lost to Herriman in First Round
The Jaguars return goalie Cade Wright, attackmen Tanner Smith and Brady Nunnelley and defenders Breven Shupe and Brayton Brown. West Jordan relied heavily on 2013 Second Team All-State midfielder Andrew Harmon who has graduated, so the void to fill will be great.
Rivalry game: April 25 @ Copper Hills. The Grizzlies and Jaguars are common foes in all sports, but the Grizzlies have had the upper hand. The two schools will renew their rivalry this year after taking 2013 off. The Jaguars have won just one contest out of six, a 10-9 win in 2007.
Woods Cross Wildcats
2013 Record: 3-9 (1-3 in Davis Conference)
2013 Playoffs: Did Not Qualify
The Wildcats are coming off a rough 2013 season and will hope to rebound in their new conference. Woods Cross lost their two leading scores, Michael Stock and Keaola Adamson but return Keadon Adamson who should lead the attack this season. Also returning are goalies Spencer Thompson and Austin Goodwin who split time last season.
Best case scenario: The Wildcats have a five game home stretch in late March/early April with games against like minded teams. If the Wildcats can come away at 4-1 in those games, the should be in good shape to make the playoffs.