New lacrosse club swimming against current at CSU Channel Islands

David Niello
David Niello, a senior from Alamo in Northern California, is the Dolphins' second-leading scorer.

On the subject of fledgling programs — which we touched on regarding Cal-State San Marcos — I wanted to mention Channel Islands, which is in its fourth year of MCLA D-II play and is now under the direction of coach Geoff Sebold.

David Niello
David Niello, a senior from Alamo in Northern California, is the Dolphins’ second-leading scorer.

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The Dolphins have struggled this season, to say the least, losing four consecutive games by a combined score of 71-17 after opening the 2013 season with an 18-5 win over Cal Lutheran. Sunday, Channel Islands lost 18-3 to No. 18 Cal-State Fullerton.

That’s the bad news. The good news, though, is that Channel Islands even has a club. The school itself is only 10 years old and has yet to establish much of an identity, even within the Cal-State University system. The school had planned to begin competing in interscholastic athletics during this current school year, but those plans were put on hold by system-wide budget cuts.

So the lacrosse team is one of few athletic endeavors sporting the school’s red and silver colors and Dolphin mascot. The team lists only 18 players on its roster, and coach Sebold said a handful of them didn’t play in high school. Most, though, hail from local schools like Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks and Royal (Simi Valley), and Orange County schools like El Toro, Servite and Marina.

Geoff Sebold
Coach Geoff Sebold, a fixture in Conejo Valley lacrosse, began coaching Channel Islands this year.

Though the club gets little support from the school and has a combined record of 8-19 in three-plus seasons, the Dolphins are making a go of it. Sebold, the former Newbury Park HS coach and founder of the Conejo Valley Lacrosse League, came aboard this year to help lay the foundation, and as long as the players are willing, he’ll stick around. Sebold is getting help from Chris Panos in a volunteer capacity as Panos looks to connect further with the Conejo Valley lacrosse community.

The next challenge for the Dolphins? A trip Saturday to San Marcos to face another new club, but one that is enjoying far more on-field success this season. But never mind that. The motto at is “Grow The Game.” The guys out at Channel Islands are doing their part, so I wanted to acknowledge.