Arizona Boys' Lacrosse Playoff Preview

The Arizona Division I and Division II boys' lacrosse playoffs are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. As for Div. I action, Brophy Prep is looking for back-to-back state championships, while rivals Chaparral and Desert Vista hope to knock the champs off its throne. In our boys' playoff preview, get the latest details concerning the 2011 tournament and which teams are most likely to pull off upsets this year. Plus, read about this year's sleeper team and the best opening round game on the docket.

Tournament Favorite: Brophy Prep

The defending champs enter tournament play as the clear favorites to make it back-to-back titles. The team's only losses this year came against elite out-of-state competition that includes Saint Ignatius Prep (CA), Bellarmine Prep (CA) and Regis Jesuit (CO). As for Arizona foes, the Broncos (17-3 overall) went 14-0 against in-state competition year, steamrolling squads along the way. First round opponent Salpointe Catholic (8-7) already felt the team's wrath back on March 12, falling to Brophy by 12 goals. The Broncos will rely on goalie Ryan Manos and standout defender Charlie Hushek to set the tone on the defensive end and force teams into low percentage chances on net.

Dark Horse: Chaparral

It's understandable that it might seem a bit strange to see Chaparral's name next to the phrase "dark horse." But due to their 9-4 defeat to Brophy Prep last season in the semifinals, the Firebirds failed to reach the state championship game for the first time in team history. Now, while it appears that Brophy Prep has a stranglehold on the competition, Chaparral still has the talent to dethrone them in '11. After falling to the Broncos, 11-4, back on March 18, the Firebirds have reeled off ten straight wins and enter the playoffs playing some of their best lacrosse of the season. The team will look to win the time of possession battle with skilled midfield play via Steve Larson and Finn Wells.

Best Opening Round Game: Saguaro vs. Chandler

These squads are very evenly matched, making for what should be a thrilling opening round game. As for proof, when the two got together back on April 1, Chandler eeked out a 12-11 win in overtime. Like before, the difference this weekend may come down to which team can win the ground ball battle and come up big during crunch time. Last time out, Chandler scored two goals in the final few minutes to force overtime before netting the game-winner with just 3:38 remaining.

While attackman Rockne Repp figures to be vital part of Saguaro's offensive game plan, midfielder Brandon Moranz poses as a game-changer at the face-off X and played a key role in Chandler's victory the first time around. Saguaro is also no stranger to playing in close games this season. The team has been involved in three overtime games this year, winning one and falling in the others to Desert Vista and Chandler.

Upset Alert: Mesa over Desert Vista

The Heat may be 8-6 on the season, but the team has played the state's top programs tough from start to finish. On April 21, Desert Vista edged Mesa, 6-4, in a defensive battle. While the Heat went down in that contest, the close result should give the squad plenty of confidence heading into this opening round showdown. Mesa could attempt to slow the pace down to prevent Desert Vista's efficient offense from setting up shop. However, the Thunder (12-3) will still try and counter with its quick-strike offense led by David Sartori and Conner McLaughlin.

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2011-04-29



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