Rising High School Notebook: Torrey Pines, St. Margaret's Grab Wins in SoCal
We made it to sunny Southern California just before the start of last weekend, just in time to catch a couple of great games featuring some of the better teams out of the San Diego and Los Angeles scenes.
Sunday brought us two games of note, the first taking place in San Juan Capitstrano as St. Margaret's Episcopal School hosted Poway High School to start the day.
That matchup saw the Tartans use a 3-0 run to start the game as enough of a lead to hold off the Titans 8-6 in a defensive slugfest between two teams consistently ranked in the Rising SoCal Top 10 each week.
Nick Shanks, a multi-purpose player led the way for St. Margaret's in that contest, scoring four times. We caught up with the Tartans head coach, Glen Miles, after the game to learn a little bit more about the Tartans. You can see that interview here.
After the dust settled in San Juan Capistrano, we hit Highway 5 and buzzed down the coast back toward San Diego, where we eventually made our way to Torrey Pines High School for what turned out to be another great matchup. Celebrating Senior Night, the Torrey Pines Falcons hosted Loyola High School out of Los Angeles.
The SoCal Nightcap saw the Falcons grind out a tough 11-6 win over an athletic and determined Loyola team, currently one of the top programs in LA.
Alderik van der Heyde had a huge night for Torrey Pines, totaling four goals and three assists. After the game, we caught up with longtime Torrey Pines head coach Jono Zissi, who shared some insight to the development of his program. You can see that interview here. You can also see
Here's a look at some of the players who stood out in these two contests, and you can see some of the photos we shot in the big gallery above.
Alderik van der Heyde, Attack, Torrey Pines (Calif.), Jr.
van der Heyde shined from the start of the game against Loyola for the Falcons, triggering the aggressive attack early with his fast playmaking. He is a talented dodger and passer and from the early goings he seemed to be involved in a lot of what Torrey Pines was doing. He opened the game with a fast release to score in transition. Then he took advantage of small space and a little time about a minute and a half later, setting his feet and hammering a shot high in the net. A goal of his later in the game really turned some heads, as he pulled off a super quick face dodge to the inside of his man, getting himself down the lane and then snapping a bounce shot on the run to beat the goalie by the feet. Though not the thickest of players, he goes hard at his defender and gets into contact and keeps moving, keeps his head up and keeps his hands protected. He showed major slickness when putting together his dodges. By the end of the first half, van der Heyde had accumulated three goals and three assists. it seemed like he was at his best out in front of the net, but with his mix of skills, quickness, vision and just a fast set of hands, he can make plays from all spots. This is one of the better uncommitted players we've seen on the road this year.
Ryder Mora, Midfield/Attack, Loyola High Scool (Calif.), Jr.
Mora proved himself to be one of the best dodgers on the field and pulled of his moves with explosiveness. On one of his dodges, he set up his defender and then somehow got inside of him while dodging at X and then tip-toed the crease from behind to get off a shot on the doorstep. He scored on a nasty bounce shot after splitting to his left and releasing a 3/4-like shot, again somehow swapping spots in a flash with his defender and getting inside. His shots from outside were hard and required the goalie to make a couple good stops. His second goal came on shot from outside, a hard bouncer. Mora can play both ends of the field and shows toughness in the open field and playing short-stick. His athleticism is a big part of his game and it's no surprise, as he's the son of former NFL coach and current UCLA coach Jim Mora.
Spencer Small, Midfield, Torrey Pines (Calif.), Sr.
Small has a great presence in the middle of the field and really was a leader from that position for the Falcons in the win over Loyola. The tall, lean and athletic midfielder is also a smart player and really helped control the pace of the game as a towering point man who can hum the ball when feeding and is a tough matchup when he sweeps or gets momentum down the alley. He has a powerful shot and can pull back for a smooth, long release that puts a lot of velocity on the ball, and he showed accuracy against Loyola with a time and room shot with a great winding sidearm release to drill the top shelf. He later used his athleticism to run through a mix of defenders to deposit an open net goal and help seal the game as Loyola came out to press. He's got long legs, can keep the stick up high, gets downhill and can bring it on his shots. Talking with him after the game, he's a sharp kid with a great outlook on the game as it relates to life.
Brendan Egan, Midfield, Torrey Pines (Calif.), Sr. - Bucknell
Egan was impressive for Torrey Pines in the win over Loyola High School, serving as a reliable high crease man who can catch the ball and quickly spin, and sometimes even leave his feet, to get off high-percentage shots from right in front of the cage. He is a tough downhill player, able to use his thick build and decent quickness to attack his man hard. He was fearless in the middle of the Cubs defense -- twice he caught feeds and took checks while still being able to spin and get off his shot. One of his goals was a shot tucked into the top left from just a few yards away. Egan showed that he can be a threat in a number of ways on offense.
Nick Shanks, Midfield/Attack, St. Margaret's Episcopal, Sr. - Tufts
Shanks had a tremendous performance against Poway in the 8-6 win for the Tartans, notching four goals, but proving himself to be just as important in the midfield as he was as a shooter down off the sides of the goal. A shorter player with athleticism, Shanks showed the ability to get up the field in a hurry and showed evasiveness and speed to get out of trouble and outrun riding attackmen or midfielders. He outran opposing riders and calmly lead the break to set up offense. Where he really shined was down on the wing, where he scored more than one goal with serious snap. A couple of goals saw him absolutely pound the top shelf with his low-to-high shot. They were goals that gave his team an emotional jolt. His goal at the end, an unassisted take the cage, turned out to be the one that iced the game. His overall hustle and ability to get the ball and put it in the cage was the overall difference in the game for the Tartans.
Nick Mohler, Defense, Loyola High School (Calif.), Jr. - St. John's
Mohler is a big, strong defender who helped Loyola eventually slow Torrey Pines' high-powered offense as time wore on. He's physical when the ball's on the ground, but showed a good stick. His height and size help him create problems off the ball and in the gut of the D. He was part of a Cubs defense that was, overall, pretty solid and made it tough for the Falcons to get easy opportunites. Goals later in the contest were harder to come by and part of that was
Jon Partamian, Midfield, Loyola High School (Calif.), Jr. - Syracuse
Partamian was clearly one of the most athletic players on the field, and though it took him a while to assert himself, when he did you could see the upside that led to college interest for him last summer. He's a solidly built righty and has excellent balance and speed. Likely a two-way midfielder at the next level, he makes big contributions for the Cubs on both ends of the field. He is quick laterally and that mixes with his size to help him play good defense up high. He came up with a groundball and then accelerated up the field to lead a fastbreak that resulted in a goal. Later in the game, he took a feed and wound up for a rolling shot that beat the goalie from outside. It was a goal that helped spark a run for Loyola and make the game closer than some might have expected.
Ara Suhadolnik, Midfield, Torrey Pines (Calif.), Sr.
Suhadolnik has had a big year so far for the Falcons and, though the game against Loyola wasn't his most productive, we liked a lot of what we saw from the senior. He's a smart, sneaky off-ball player who gets the ball in and out of his stick. He carried to feed against the Cubs. He's just a nice combination of smarts and skills, and it's not surprising some notable college programs like him for those same attributes.
Jake Fiske, LSM/D, Poway (Calif.), Sr. - UMass-Lowell
Fiske is a talented, smart and gritty tough long-stick midfielder who is a constant presence for Poway -- not just on defense, as he's asked to run point on the EMO at times, showing his good handle to distribute the ball and take advantage of room when given. He can shoot the ball with accuracy and gets the shot off quick. Fiske can chase down the loose ball, he has the athleticism and balance to stay all over a dodging, sprinting midfielder and he comes up with a lot of loose balls given his stick. He was a difference-maker against St. Margaret's scoring two goals in the game, both of them unassisted in transition. He's as big of a threat to score as any midfielder we've seen this year. He has a nose for the cage and confidence as a shooter with that long pole.
Owen Springett, Midfield, Poway (Calif.), Jr. - UMBC
Springett is a grinder and was one of the hardest working players on the field for the Titans in the loss against St. Margaret's. He's a hard-nosed multi-purpose midfielder who can push the ball out front, fight for it and then use his legs to make plays and push transition. He just goes and goes and fights as a short-stick defender and then can also crash down hill to help out on offense. He's a blue collar player who will continue to improve, which is what we've seen so far.
Sam Harnisch, Attack, St. Margaret's Episcopal (Calif.), Sr. - Denver
Harnisch is as impressive for his athleticism as any attackman around. He's compact, strong, showing off quick-twitch speed and strength. His wiry toughness and explosiveness, as well as his balance and ability to use his leverage, make him a tough matchup. The Poway defense keyed on him a lot in the game and they did a good job with him, but he still showed his one-on-one talents by forcing the defense to respect any time he was carrying. He made his defender work to cover him. His lone goal came when he took a feed up top and took a couple steps in before shooting a low shot from far out. He can protect the stick with his strong upper body and uses his legs to get all over the box. He's been a big reason St. Margaret's has been so succesful this season.
Joe Theur, Goalie, Loyola High School (Calif.), Jr.
Theur had a great showing against Torrey Pines as a keeper who can take up space in the cage with decent size but showed good agility, reflexes and fast hands to stone a bunch of shooters from Torrey Pines. He made some tough stops early as the ball was moving quickly in and out of the perimeter, resulting in high-percentage looks for the Falcons. His hands helped him stop two or three to get his defense confident. As the game wore on, Torrey Pines had to work harder to get good shots as he was eating up shots from outside eight yards or so. He looked sharp in the clearing game, too.
Kevin Caruana, Defense, St. Margaret's Episcopal (Calif.), Soph.
There were a handful of players on defense that really played well for St. Margaret's in the Poway game, but Caruana really caught our eye just with his smart play, well-timed checks and his play in the groundball game and the open field. St. Margaret's got a boost from its athletic, active defense and also made it extremely tough for Poway to get good looks on a consistent basis through one-on-one dodging. Caruana was tough to beat, got after the ball and got up the field. He looks to have a bright future with the Tartans.
Payton Fales, Goalie, St. Margaret's Episcopal (Calif.), Sr. - Colby
A recruit of our late friend Jack Sandler, we know someone would have been impressed, as we were, with Fayles performance against Poway. He came up with numerous timely, tough looking saves, including turning away at least two heavy step-down shots that could have very easily turned the tide in the game. He was poised, controlled in the clearing game and is helping make the Tartans one of the most balanced teams in California at the moment.