2019 Gwinnett Daily Post Boys Lacrosse Team Previews

GAC's Michael Malone (20) celebrates a goal with teammates during the second half of Saturday's Class 1A-5A Boys Lacrosse Championship at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw. (Photo: Kyle Hess)

BOYS

Class AAAAAA-AAAAAAA

Archer

Coach: Jamie Wellington

2018 record: 8-8

Returning starters: M Wyatt Maddox; A Sam Lester; A Stevon Porcha; A Luke Chamlee; G Bubba Nunnally; D Will Branch

Newcomers/other key contributors: M Dray Brueland; LSM Jonathan Forth; D Ben Quick

Outlook: Archer is a young team this year, but head coach Jamie Wellington said the Tigers have the tools to build off of the previous two years of success. Last year’s team experienced a bump in wins by one game. Archer looks to establish consistency, now that the Tigers have reached the .500 winning percentage mark.

Brookwood

Coach: Dru Ulloa

2018 record: 9-9

Returning starters: Tyler Banfield, Selassie Richardson, Joseph Garcia, Danny Godina, Chase Calendine, Patrick Williams

Newcomers/other key contributors: Jacob Brown, Timothy Mitchell, Chris Spencer, Zac Cook

Outlook: Brookwood has been hit hard by graduation in recent years. The Broncos have seen more than 30 seniors graduate over the last two years. Head coach Dru Ulloa said the team has built good chemistry in the offseason and he looks forward to some young, new starters to take over the team. Tyler Banfield returns to Brookwood after scoring 16 goals as a junior. He was also a vacuum for ground balls with 76 total recoveries last season when he mad the All-County second team.

Collins Hill

Coach: Bob Basher

2018 record: 9-6

Returning starters: A/FOGO Tanner Wilson, So.; G Tommy Turnage, Sr.; A Carter Kitts, Jr.; M Enoch Leung, Sr.; M/A Strickland Palmer, Sr.; D/FOGO Miller Horn, Sr.; D Grayson Koerner, Jr.; D/LSM Tucker Bailey, Jr.; D/LSM Cai Barnes, Jr.; A Ryan DelSavio, Sr.; A/M Alex Cao, Sr.; M Carter Bridge, Sr.; D Tyan Henschel, Sr.; M Gage Arnold, Sr.

Newcomers/other key contributors: M Josh Goode, Fr.; D Justin Martin, Fr.; A Dominic Mask, So.; M Chandler Brady, Jr.; M Michael Hernandez, Jr.; M Jacob Davidson, Jr.; M/A Mac Cao, Jr.; M/G Matthew Blackmon, So.; G/D Angel Carbajal, Jr.; G Chris Carr, Jr.

Outlook: Collins Hill returns first-team all-county midfielder Strickland Palmer and third-team specialist Miller Horn. Senior middle Gage Arnold is signed to play football at LaGrange College. The Eagles are as experienced a team as ever with all of the returning pieces to compete for a playoff spot in the realigned region.

Dacula

Coach: Jason Gogolinski

2018 record: 1-17

Returning starters: M Matt Morgenroth, So.; M Andy Spain, Sr.; M Addison Daniels, Sr.; A Michael Milroy, Sr.; M Justin Ballard, Sr.; D Kyle Street, Sr.; D Jacob Bolich, Jr.; A Andrew Beasley, Jr.; A Dylan D’Amato, So.

Newcomers/other key contributors: G Cooper Montgomery, So.; D Nolan Pylant, Sr.; M Justin Fields, Sr.; M Alex Crabb, So.; D Dylan Parr, Sr.; D Bryce Calhoun, So.; M Ronald Utreras, Sr.; A Michael Fischer, So.; M Hunter DelValle, Fr.; M John Blair, Fr.

Outlook: Dacula is still a young program. It’s starting to build depth with returning starters and its featured players can stand with some of the best in the county. Matt Morgenroth is a sophomore midfielder with a bright future and first-year head coach Jason Gogolinski hopes to provide the Falcons with the tools to make significant strides in 2019.

Duluth

Coach: Simon Mawson

2018 record: 7-11

Returning starters: A Dillon Montineri, Sr, M Luke McKernan, Sr.; A Michael McDonald, Sr.; A Evan Hall, Sr.; M Noah Sexton, Jr.; M Justin Stine, Jr.; G McCay Johnson; Sr. D Trey Davis, So.; D Kai Bush, Jr.; D Nicholas Rosati, Sr.

Newcomers/other key contributors: N/A

Outlook: Duluth is led by Piedmont College commit Dillon Montineri and Providence College commit Luke McKernan. McKernan is Duluth’s first ever Division I lacrosse commit, while Montineri is a contender for Duluth’s school record in goals scored. If the Wildcats can see some of their non-area success translate against local teams, Duluth could contend for a playoff appearance.

Lanier

Coach: David Palmer

2018 record: 10-7

Returning starters: Josh Olsen; X Joshua Townes; James Davie; Kenny Saldana,; Andre Martinez;Noah Schiefelbien; Michael Ples; Ethan Wise; Leo Cadet; Kyle King; Jack Goldstein

Newcomers/other key contributors: Richard Rannals; Pierce Harwood

Outlook: Laner lost nine players to graduation from its squad last year. The Longhorns look toward some young but experienced sophomore that saw playing time in meaningful situations last season. Head coach David Palmer said the third-year program is looking for continuing signs of growth as it builds and develops players.

Meadowcreek

Coach: Dennis DeSanctis

2018 record: 7-11

Returning starters A Daniel Romero, So.; A John Ozuna, So.; Kevin Hoang, Jr.

Newcomers/other key contributors: N/A

Outlook: In his first year as head coach of Meadowcreek’s boys lacrosse team, Dennis DeSanctis is confident the Mustangs can continue at trajectory of improvement as the team’s chemistry begins to increase. Returning a attackman John Ozuna possesses the speed to score unassisted goals and wreak havoc on counters. Kevin Hoang possesses the ability to score with a quick stick.

Mill Creek

Coach: Alan Tallman

2018 record: 10-9

Returning starters: A Willie Grieco, Sr.; A Wyatt Peek, Sr.; A Sean Proctor, Sr.; M Will Duffy, Sr.; M Coleman Braun, Sr.; LSM/D Logan Tucker, Jr.

Newcomers/other key contributors: A Nick Calabrese, Jr.; A Parker Emmett, So.; M Drew Bennett, Jr.; M Nick Kava, So.; M Spencer Kohn; D Parker Cyr, Jr.; D Will Blake, Jr.

Outlook: Mill Creek has been one of the forefront lacrosse programs in Gwinnett County in terms of its history and exponential growth. It has the regular season wins to reflect that success, but the postseason success hasn’t been there recently. Enter Alan Tallman. The Hawks’ new head coach has ambitions to bring Mill Creek to the peak of lacrosse in not only the county, but the state. That takes time, but Mill Creek has a handful of key pieces to make significant strides in this season. Willie Grieco steps in as one of the Hawks’ featured attackmen after former Daily Post Player of the Year Bailey Williams graduated in 2018. Logan Tucker is a Mercer commit and cornerstone of the Hawks’ defense at LSM.

Mountain View

Coach: Donald Zona

2018 record: 8-8

Returning starters: Luke Hennebaul, Sr.; Aidan Higgins, Sr.; Cameron McDonald, Sr.; Chasen Campbell, Jr.; Brandon Outler, Jr.; Will Cobb, Jr.; John Chesney, Jr.; Tyler Barlan, Jr.

Newcomers/other key contributors: Mitchell Taylor; Darien Welsh; Brennon Medonia; Jacob Lund; Lathan Hysler; Cal Shulte, Sr.; Noal Winter, Sr.; Alejandro Smith, Sr.; Caihu Lemon, Sr.

Outlook: Mountain View is looking to get back to a winning record and battle for playoff contention in a stacked Area 6. The Bears fell short of playoff contention last year with a 1-6 area record, but the difference between the Bears and the last playoff spot was three games. The Bears are a senior-laden club this year with two-sport returning starters Luke Hennebaul, a Montevallo commit and Bears quarterback, and Aidan Higgins, a Mercer football commit. Coach Donald Zona said senior Cameron McDonald is also expected help Hennebaul and Higgins anchor the team.

Norcross

Coach: Nathan Thornton

2018 record: 3-13

Returning starters: M Logan Gaddis, M Nick Linder, M Sage Shaw, G Andrew Whitesides, D Zach Newman, A Zach Pazol

Newcomers/other key contributors: A Patrick Elder, Fr.; M Xavier Oglesby, A Bailey Campbell, D Anthony Nelson, LSM William Huelsbeck

Outlook: Norcross’ boys lacrosse team will begin its first season under new head coach Nathan Norton, who came from Dunwoody High School. Coming off a three-win season, Norcross will lean on the experience of a wealth of returning starters. Dunwoody established success in Area 7 last year with a second-place finish. The question is, how much time will it take for that success to transfer to Norcross?

North Gwinnett

Coach: John Palocsik

2018 record: 18-2

Returning starters: A Zach Swanson, Jr.; M Garrison Manor, Sr.; M Riely Walker, Sr.; M Jordan Young, Sr.; D Will Hunter, Sr.; D Tyler Palocsik, Sr.; D Will Goldring, Sr.; D Justin Wambold, Sr.

Newcomers/other key contributors: M Joey DeMaria, Jr.; G Sean Ring, Jr.; A Payton Kesselring, Sr.; M J.M. DeHann, Jr.; M Jack Riley, Jr.

Outlook: North Gwinnett emerged as one of the county’s top boys teams last year. The Bulldogs won the first 15 games of the 2018 season and didn’t lose again until the semifinals agaisnt Lassiter in overtime. That was the second semifinal loss in three years for the North Gwinnett boys team. A new region has re-paved the road to the playoffs for the Bulldogs, but it’s non-region tests will show where it stands among the state’s best in 2019. North Gwinnett opens the season against the only team it lost to in the regular season, Milton. The Bulldogs returned a full line of defensive starters and features deep lines at midfield and attack.

Parkview

Coach: Floyd Cooper

2018 record: 10-7

Returning starters: D Elijah Brown, Jr.; D Malchi Lindsey; A Peyton Haislip, So.; A Jack Bunson, So.; M Josiah Shreve, Sr.; M Drew Bunson, So.

Newcomers/other key contributors: Hayden Roark, Logan Boulet, Ryan Craig, Kenny Brinson, Michael Lindsey, G Nic Morse

Outlook: Parkview coach Floyd Cooper takes over a program that returns its two top scorers in Peyton Haislip and Jack Bunson and a second-team all-county defenseman Elijah Brown. Haislip and Bunson both made their 2018 contributions as freshmen. If Parkview’s experienced players are young, that means the returning starters a younger. Nic Morse will be Parkview’s first-year goalie. Cooper said the returning starters are placed in prime positions to build on their previous success, which he believes Parkview can accomplish after two consecutive state tournament appearances.

Peachtree Ridge

Coach: Tyler Botts

Returning starters: A Brenton Norton; D Aarya Narang; M Seth Robinson; M Chance Sanders; M Conley Rodgers; G Sam Groesch

Newcomers/other key contributors: N/A

Outlook: Peachtree Ridge will miss the invaluable athleticism and contributions from last year’s all-county attackman of the year Payne Durham. Peachtree Ridge will return its second-leading scorer from last year, Mount Saint Mary’s commit Brenton Norton and his 46 goals in 2018. The Lions return Aarya Narang on defense and three midfielders — Seth Robinson, Chance Sanders and Conley Rodgers. Goalie Sam Groesch is not a first-time starter, but will be in the full-time role for the first time this season.

Grayson

Coach: Gio De La Pena

2018 record:

Returning starters: G Nolan Hayes, Sr.; D Tyler Web, Sr.; M Conner Arnold, Sr.; M/A Michael Anderson, Sr.; A Christian Michaelson, Sr.

Newcomers/Other key contributors: M Ben Durkin, Jr.; M/D Dylan Shelnutt, LSM Ty Freeman, Jr.; D Porter Hale, Jr.; A Palmer Hayes, Fr.; LSM Colin Luongo, Fr.; A Cooper Jopling, Fr.

Outlook: Grayson has been perhaps the most consistent preference in its region in recent seasons and stands to continue that consistency this year. If you need evidence, look no further than third team all-state goalie Nolan Hayes. He was last year’s county Goalie of the Year with 211 total saves and a 62-percent clip. Grayson lost one of the county’s leading goal-scorers in Nick Losurdo. The Rams have yet to match their regular-season success with a long postseason run. Grayson hopes to make moves late in the season during the state tournament, the next step for an already healthy program.

Class A-AAAAA

Buford

Coach: Kevin Peek

2018 record: 11-7

Returning starters: M Grant Breyo; M Alston Gill; M Max Fenno; M Brendan Allen; G Taylor Lewis; A Max Whalen; A Danny Reymond; A Mikey Canavan; D Nolan Kangas; D Jason Roche; D Dom Maggio; LSM Mitchell Whalen

Newcomers/other key contributors: LSM Turner McBrayer; SSDM Calvin Blow; SSDM Adam Reymond

Outlook: Buford returns a wealth of players with starting experience, although coach Kevin Peak said most missed time with various injuries. Grant Breyo, University of Massachusetts commit and Super Six selection, is expected to return from ACL surgery mid-season, as soon as March. The Wolves have the most seniors the program has ever carried on one varsity team. Senior all-state players Taylor Lewis, signed with Jacksonville State, and Mitchell Whalen are key cornerstones of the Buford lineup.

Greater Atlanta Christian

Coach: Tim Ball

2018 record: 18-4

Returning starters: G Peter Klueber, Sr.; D Chandler Dula, Sr.; LSM Aaron Miechiels; M Josh Rose, Sr.; M Michael Malone

Newcomers/other key contributors: Thomas Lowman, So.; Joseph Rose, So.; FOGO Aiden Bailey, So.

Outlook: Greater Atlanta Christian’s four losses, including a 5-4 defensive standoff in the state championship against Blessed Trinity, came on a combined four goals. Last year’s run was an expected rebuilding season for the Spartans after losing 14 seniors from the 2017 squad. Greater Atlanta Christian looks to continue to blaze the trail of lacrosse in Gwinnett County after becoming the first team to ever reach the state championship. The Spartans will miss some key contributions from 61-goal scorer Trey Wood, hellacious defensive midfielder Max Burke and record-breaking FOGO Nick Jones. GAC, however, has the pieces to do that. Peter Kluber is a Mercer commit at goalie who saved 59.3 percent of last year’s opposing shots on target. Josh Rose is a Utah commit in the midfield who racked up 60 goals and 29 assists in an all-state junior season. Chandler Dula was the county Defender of the Year and a Williams College commit. Head coach Tim Ball said the Spartans will lean on its defense while it works to replace key losses on offense.

Wesleyan

Coach: Lee Rider

2018 record: 11-6

Returning starters: A Bennett Harrison, Sr.; A Davis Chapman, Sr.; M J.D. Chipman, So.; M Michael Nicklaus, Sr.; M Daniel Woods, Sr.; D Cardo Gottlich, Jr.; M Miller Thomason, Sr.; G Carter Davis, Jr.

Newcomers/other key contributors: M Jackson Turner, So.; M Dylan Jenkins, Sr.; A Beau Blanton, Jr.; A Vance Nicklaus, So.; D Will Alexander, So.

Outlook: Wesleyan lost its top two scorers from last season, but have five seniors with starting experience. Coach Lee Rider said the senior class of six total looks to lead Wesleyan back to the state playoffs in 2019 after the Wolves fell in Round 1 to semifinals Westminster. Junior Carter Davis returns for another season at goalie and defender Cardo Gottlich and LSM middle Miller Thomason are two returning starters from a depleted defense.

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