Western Region Boys' Games of the Week, March 27-31

By Brett Manney

Lacrosse is now in full swing in the Western Region with conference showdowns and out-of-state battles highlighting the slate. In California, two top five teams go head-to-head while a pair of Arizona stalwarts look to keep their momentum going. Meanwhile, Nevada's best and Utah's finest tangle in a highly-anticipated match-up of up-and-coming programs.

March 27

Palo Verde Panthers, NV (PR: 90.81, Rank: 3) vs. Park City Miners, UT (PR: 86.23, Rank: 8)

This cross-state match-up pits teams from different states that have rising lacrosse programs and stars. Led by attacker Conner White and midfielder JoJo Milosevic, the Panthers (4-0) have annihilated their opponents this year with an average scoring margin of 13. All the while, the Miners are a young team with only four seniors, but head coach Ryan Shaeffer is building a state contender in 2009. After a difficult 11-7 loss to Utah's Judge Memorial (PR: 92.6) on March 20, look for the Miners to prove they are one of the state's elite teams against the talent-laden Panthers.

Chaparral Firebirds, AZ (PR: 93.75, Rank: 1) vs. Desert Mountain Wolves, AZ (PR: 83.25, Rank: 8)

This clash of two Arizona premier lacrosse teams will likely be the most entertaining game in the state this weekend. The Firebirds are ranked No. 1 in the state thanks to their high-octane offense and stingy defense. Through four games, the Firebirds have not allowed more than six goals in a game and average 15 goals per outing. Attacker Andreas Haglund has found the back of the net 12 times this year and should be the Wolves' main priority on defense. Meanwhile, the Wolves' offense is spearheaded by Geoff O' Kane and A.J. Redford, who each average more than two goals a game. Desert Mountain has won its last three games and two of those came by one goal, so this one has the makings to be another thriller.

De La Salle Spartans, CA (PR: 97.58, Rank: 4) vs. Amador Valley Dons, CA (PR: 98.05, Rank: 5)

This must-see match-up in California has two top-ranked teams battling for state supremacy. Head coach Robert O'Meara's Spartans are athletic and can produce goals in bunches against any opponent. The Spartans are looking to move up in the rankings and could do so by defeating the fifth-ranked Dons. The Dons are a defensive-oriented squad and allowing just five goals per game. They also feature a phenomenal man-down defense and an outstanding goalie in junior Chris DeLuca. The contrasting styles of play by both teams should make for a thrilling affair this Friday.

March 28

Timberline Wolves, ID (PR: 87.80, Rank: 2) vs. Bountiful Braves, UT (PR: 92.82, Rank: 2)

Once again, the Wolves face another talented out-of-state opponent this week that should judge where they stand against the Western Region's best squads. The Wolves' strength is their senior attack unit consisting of Alex Williams, Mitch Hawk and Dennis Rusin. With Williams, the Wolves might have the best player in the state, a true standout who has the ability to score against anyone.

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