The West conference will have it’s hands full with several great teams vying for the Top 16.
Bingham Miners (9-10, ULA D-I Quarterfinals)
The Miners started 2014 strong, going 4-1 with wins over Copper Hills, Alta, Tigard (OR) and Rocky Mountain (ID). Their lone loss came to the Nevada (SSLL) State Champion, Centennial. Things were looking up for the Miners who continued to play well but fell on a five game losing streak to end the season including a 13-9 loss to eventual ULA D-I Champion, Park City in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
What will 2015 hold in store for the Miners? The glaring omission is goalie Scott Bronson, who was a 2014 All-American, who graduated. Senior Zach Meisenbacher will have big shoes to fill in cage for Bingham. The varsity roster is littered with Juniors and Seniors, so experience should pay dividends for Bingham. Matt Anderson, Kason Eggers, Joe Lambert, Josh Croall, Jordan Brough and James Packer all have significant experience and know how to find the back of the net. The big question, as always with Bingham, is how will their defense be?
The highlight on the Bingham schedule is a trip to the Washington D.C. area in the first week of April. The Miners will see the sites and play Friends (MD), Wakefield School (VA) and Flint Hill (DC).
Bountiful Braves (12-4, UHSLL Semifinals)
The Braves suffered significant losses in the off-season. From the sidelines, long-time Braves head coach Marty Wescott moved on to BYU/Olympus. On the field, Chandler Wescott, Jace Thomas, Dalin Hampshire, Brock Jeppesen and Cam Redmond all graduated.
This season, the Braves will rely on Zac Jones and Grady Tanner who are the only returning players who registered varsity goals last season. Kyle Winn will look to lead the defense as the starting goalie. Peter Jordan is the new head coach and will be joined by Zac Harris.
The Braves will begin play at the Best of the West tournament this weekend.
Rivalry game: 4/13 v. Viewmont – Bountiful is riding a 3 game winning streak against their rival to the North. Look for this game to be close.
Copper Hills Grizzlies (12-4, ULA D-II Semifinals)
The Grizzlies had a phenomenal season in 2014 with Scott Park at the helm. The Grizzlies played excellent lacrosse down the stretch but eventually fell to the buzzsaw known as Sky View in the ULA D-II Semifinals. Their leader on the field was Daxton Sloan who graduated. Look for Tanner Skadburg, LeRoy Sandberg and Keaton Stephens to leave their mark on the competition.
“Sandberg, Skadburg and Stephens were big contributors on the 2014 team and we are excited to see what they can do this year,” said Park. “We had 14 seniors on Varsity last year. We have 4 seniors this year. Because this team is so young I’m excited to see how they come together as a team and hopefully buy in to the team concept.”
The Grizzlies will look to take their momentum from last season into this year as they begin place in Saint George this weekend with games against Viewmont, Desert Hills and Fremont.
Rivalry game: 4/28 @ West Jordan – Copper Hills hasn’t lost to the Jaguars since 2007. This year should continue the streak.
Davis Darts (10-6, ULA D-I Semifinals)
The Darts started to click late last season when they reeled off four straight wins leading up to the Semifinals where they fell to eventual champion Park City.
Returning to the field this season is Attackman Kyle Gee is had 34 goals and 21 assists last season. He and Boston Frasier will look to the lead the team. On defense, look no further then Carter Bisk.
“Bisk has been a quite leader and we expect him to help a very young defense excel this season,” said Davis head coach Trevor Yocom.
Gee, Frasier and Bisk were also team elected captains.
“It was clear the team wanted to follow these three young men, they all are solid leaders with untapped upside potential,” said Yocom.
The Darts begin play in Las Vegas this weekend when they take on Palo Verde II.
Herriman Mustangs (10-5, ULA D-I Runner-up)
The Mustangs will be led by a new coach this season with Mark Roothoff stepping down and Aaron Ika taking charge. On the field, the Mustangs will be without the Richard brothers who were key at the face-off X. However, Chantz Roberts (50G, 12A) returns to lead the offense while Eric Dutson holds down the defense.
“Herriman is a great area for lacrosse and we have many kids ready to contribute,” said head coach Aaron Ika. “Consistency with the younger core of the group is key. The more consistent we play the better we will be. A lot of these boys were runners up to Park City last year and have that hunger it creates to make it to the top.”
The highlight for the Mustangs will be a trip to Boise for the Boise Invitational. They will face Mountain View (ID) who are the two-time Idaho State Champions, Centennial (NV), the defending SSLL Champion and Rocky Mountain (ID)
Judge Memorial Bulldogs (5-11, ULA D-I Quarterfinals)
This will be the first season since the beginning of lacrosse in Utah that the Judge Bulldogs won’t be led by Dave Allen. Chuck Gosselin, who has been a part of the Judge program for a long time, will step in and try to bring the Bulldogs back to their former glory after a down season in 2014. The Bulldogs will also be without Gabe Rechsteiner (43G, 11A) who graduated. However, Doug Gosselin (27G, 12A) will be back and ready to take charge.
The Bulldogs are also heading to Boise and will take on Boise, Centennial (ID) and Hellgate (MT).
Riverton Silverwolves (1-11)
The Silverwolves will look to improve from last year with new head coach Kyle Hardy. Zack Tueller will lead the offense while Ian Elson will take the face-offs. Drew Lawson will anchor the wings as an LSM. Also watch for Brock Painter.
“Brock has been in the weight room this off season and is looking for ground balls. We are excited to see his contributions on the offensive side of the ball,” said Hardy.
The Silverwolves are young but will look forward to a tough schedule to close their season with Davis, at Herriman and at Copper Hills.
Viewmont Vikings (6-8, USHLL Play-in)
Kelly Fujikawa takes the helm this season for the Vikings who will look for their first winning season since 2012. Matt Cena (30G, 21A), Kyle Higgins (36G, 13A) and Jeff Bednar (16G, 19A) will look to lead the goal scoring while Kyle Fujikawa, Kevin Naegle and Ammon Reese lead the defense. Goalie Zack Skok will once stand tall between the pipes for the Vikings.
Viewmont will be tested in late March and early April when they play at Davis then host Olympus and Skyline.
West Panthers (3-8)
Former head coach Cory Merrell has turned the reigns over to his younger brother Nick who is hopeful for the 2015 Panthers squad. Austin Magleby, Marcos Zaragoza, Erik Zagal, Parker Hussey, Carter Gregory are all potential leaders for this team this year.
“Luke Traughber is new to the team this year but very blessed to have him out there,” said Merrell. “He has great size for a freshman and has exceptional stick skills. Combine that with his knowledge of the game and 5 years of experience which is just icing on the cake.”
The Panthers will face a tough test week in and week out with the new league structure but a new coaching staff will give the Panthers and opportunity to succeed.
“I look forward to a lot of things this year but I think we have a lot of support with coaching with quality assistants which makes a huge difference,” said Merrell. “We have a ton of new faces which is always fun because it helps to grow the game and hopefully give more opportunities to guys who don’t play other sports a chance to play a role in a high school team sport. All of the players at the high school level are at such a fun and exciting age where they can really draw from the experience they have in the game which can make them a better person off the field as well as a better student. One of the best things about being back at my alma mater is that I have a chance to make a lasting impact on these guys for years down the road similar to the experiences I had while I was attending West High School.”
West Jordan Jaguars (4-9)
The Jaguars have had a spell of rough seasons, but 2015 could be the change in that pattern. Head Coach Mike Nunnelley is hopeful the strong team unity will help translate to success on the field.
“There appears to be good unity with the players this years where everyone is working well with one anther,” said Nunnelley. “Our guys have a new and better attitude this year.”
Nunnelley expects his son, Brady to excel in the attack. Midfielder Jeremy Bott, Defender Brevan Shupe and Goalie Cade Wright are also expected to lead the team this season.
Battle of the Cats: West will head to West Jordan on April 14 in the annual Battle of the Cats. The Jaguars won last years battle over the Panthers, 12-4.
Woods Cross Wildcats (5-9, ULA D-II First Round)
Kent Parry will be leading the Wildcats this season in hopes of getting the team performing at their highest potential. Woods Cross finished last season on a give game losing streak so Parry has been working hard to reverse the trend and start the season in the right direction.
Kaedon Adamson (37G, 19A) will once again lead the offense along with Brayden Hudson (27G, 30A).
2015 Boys Preview: East Conference
2015 Boys Preview: West Conference
2015 Boys Preview: South Conference
2015 Boys Preview: North Conference
2015 Girls D-I Preview: South Conference
2015 Girls D-I Preview: North Conference
The West conference will have it’s hands full with several great teams vying for the Top 16.