NorCal Update: De La Salle, Monte Vista Tangle In East Bay Matchup
3d Rising closed out its trip to Northern California this past weekend with a trip to Concord to watch De La Salle – a school with a national powerhouse football program – take on Monte Vista from Danville, our second time seeing the Mustangs on the trip.
Led by third-year head coach Johnny Christmas, De La Salle saw a balanced offensive effort and solid team defense in a back-and-forth game played on a raining evening to secure a 9-7 victory over the visiting Mustangs and to improve to 3-0 to begin the year.
Christmas, a Philadelphia area native who starred at the University of Virginia, credited system play, unselfishness and players buying into a game plan as a difference.
We caught up with Christmas after the game on the campus of De La Salle, a national football powerhouse. You can see that interview here as well as some standouts from the matchup with Monte Vista.
Follow us throughout the year on Twitter (@3drising) and Instagram (@3drising) as we make our way through the high school season.
Caden Kol, LSM/Defense, De La Salle, 2019
From where we stood, Kol was the best lacrosse player on the field in the De La Salle-Monte Vista contest. He’s a fluid, fast and relentless player who shined from the first whistle to last, flying off the wing to get the opening draw and showing off speed running down the field. He was constantly on the hunt in the middle of the field. He was smooth and skilled with the long pole, switching hands and flicking passes with confidence moving up the field. A right-handed LSM, Kol has excellent footwork and showed that off by making moves to push transition up the field throughout the game. His best play came when he sprinted up the field with the ball off a turnover, was doubled and rolled out of it with a slick underhand shovel pass to a attackman cutting through the defense – the player caught it in stride and it resulted a key transition goal.
Jack Ronan, Midfield, Monte Vista, 2018
Ronan had a strong showing against De La Salle and showed more of his versatility for the Mustangs as a major contributor all over the field. From the get-go, he was doing work – starting out on the face-offs for Monte Vista. The good-sized midfielder made plays in the middle of the field. The righty netted two big goals for the Mustangs. The first saw him start down the left side, switch from right to left and short-arm snap a shot that popped the lower right corner. Later, he slipped underneath his man at the top of the box, took a pass, turned and rifled a shot top shelf all in one motion. Like in the game against Marin Catholic we saw, Ronan was a workhorse against De La Salle. He was asked to do a lot and he responded, against playing tough short-stick defense.
Matt Prochaska, Midfield, Monte Vista, 2019
Prochaska had the second outing we saw on the trip in which he was clearly the top short-stick defensive midfielder and two-way midfielder on the field. He is extremely shifty, quick and plays a tough, non-stop style of play that allows him to make a play one end and sprint right down to contribute on the other. He’s really agile and looks athletic playing defense, gliding side to side and throwing timely checks. There was a defensive series down low in a corner of the field in which he overwhelmed the ball carrier, running him into no-man’s land, getting him off balance with some hard checks and then went over his head and sliced the stick out of the player’s hand. He took the ball at full speed, trotted up the field and started transition that led to a goal on a break. He is a workhorse and skilled with the stick to make him an impact player for the Mustangs.
Jonathon Kim, Attack, Monte Vista, 2020
Kim turned in another good performance in the game against Monte Vista, coming up with two goals in a low-scoring affair on a rain-soaked Friday night at De La Salle. Kim is a smooth dodger who can use him momentum to get to the center of the field or underneath defenders, especially from points further out where he can get a bit of a head start. The lefty is a subtly stronger than he looks and that comes out in his ability to get through physical checks and finish plays. His first goal against De La Salle saw him dip underneath his man from the far wing and even evade the slide and more bodies to put himself right on the doorstep for an easy deposit. Later, when Monte Vista really needed one, Kim was on the receiving end of a long pass up the field: he caught it in stride, sprinted to the crease and threw a fake or two before burying it far side with a bounce shot. He plays with IQ and guts and shows some sharp skills.
Kyle Haener, Defense, Monte Vista, 2019
This was the second game of our trip where we saw Haener shine in his role as Monte Vista’s leading close defender. He’s fast, aggressive, low to the ground, coordinated with his feet and hands and heady with and without the ball. He is just consistently making plays down low and pushing the ball out of the backend with his ability to handle the stick and use his quick feet up the field. His speed allows him to double the ball very quickly.
Jordon Gutierres, De La Salle, Midfield, 2018
Gutierres had a big game for the Spartans against Monte Vista, scoring three goals from the midfield and serving as an offensive spark. He was aggressive to pull back and fire from the outside and he let it fly for a few goals that turned out to be huge for his team. He’s a smaller but quick righty who set himself up for shots with quick dodges up top to get his hands free with space. He has athleticism that allows him to gain separation down the alley or up top.
Ryan Emerson, Attack, Monte Vista, 2019
Emerson is a tall, sturdy right-handed attackman who can bull his way into a defender and get through checks and has a hard shot that he can unload from the outside. He’s a threat to dodge topside, turn and fire and he can take advantage of unsettled situations. He scored three big goals for Monte Vista, including getting underneath his defender and getting inside and scoring outside. He was authoritative with his other goals, simply overpowering his matchup to get his hands free. He’s a tough and competitive player and shows flashes of athleticism with the ball in his stick.
Nate Rumpf, Attack, De La Salle, 2018
Rumpf is a big man with tender hands and the smarts to use his size and skills to be an effective threat around the cage. The righty has a thick, large frame and he can back down a defender with it and get himself to low angle shooting spots – just enough where he can be dangerous. He’s also strong enough to work his way through to the center of the field and he put together an important night for the Spartans. He muscled his way topside, curled back and somehow threaded a bounce shot by the goalie’s cleats at a low angle. And later he showed off nice hands again on a slick goal from out in front.
Casey Steffen, Defense, Monte Vista, 2020
Steffen is a smart and skilled defender who also plays really tough in the middle of the field and on ground balls. On the ball, the righty is fundamentally sound and disciplined and can also handle the ball. He isn’t flashy or wild with the stick, but over the two games we watched of him for the Mustangs, it became clear he’s a sound defender down low and holds his own. He’s scrappy on the loose ball but smart with the stick and shows good awareness in scrambled situations. He’s a communicator and just seems to be on the ball to make a play.
Michael Balousek, Midfield, De La Salle, 2018
Balousek is a smaller, slippery, quick offensive player who has quick start-and-stop dodging abilities. A lefty, he showed he would go to either hand and his hands are quick. He’s got skill and did a good job of carrying and working the ball on a night when the weather was sloppy and the Spartans were looking to control the tempo and he did that with patience and used his quick feet to stretch the defense. He was opportunistic to score his lone goal, and it was a big one. He took a beautiful shovel pass in stride streaking through the box, pulled back on the run and ripped a huge shot – right handed -- to beat the goalie and to give an emotional jolt to his team. He’s smart off the ball as well, sneaking to open space and ready to catch and finish – able to get the ball in and out quickly.
Quin Seivold, Midfield, De La Salle, 2018 - Swarthmore
Seivold can run and get around the field and he made a great play to get the game going and inject life into De La Salle from the get go. Off an early draw, he corralled a loose ball coming off the wing, sprinted downfield and never stopped, as he pulled back to score on a bounce shot. He later added an assist and was a key part of the Spartans efforts to control the ball and the middle of the field.
Josh Thuma, Goalie, De La Salle, 2018
Thuma had a solid game against Monte Vista and showed himself to be a keeper who can explode to the ball. He was strong on high shots and consistently sprung up to meet the ball – he really exploded to it. He popped up just at the right moment to eat up a doorstep shot right in his face as an attackman got free from X and shot from Thuma’s left side. He made a similar save on his right side, exploding up to the ball and getting a piece of what would have been a goal. He’s got quick reflexes, sees the ball and has a good spring in his step as a first-year starter for De La Salle.