Santa Margarita, Palisades shine as CIF Southern Section kicks off play

Chris Groel, Palisafes
Palisades, with senior Chris Groel (pictured in the 2012 LA County title game), is off to a 3-0 start.

The 2013 CIF Southern Section lacrosse season is under way across the Southland as high school squads play their opening games. Here are some scores and notes from the first week or so of play (records listed are as of Sunday, March 4).

• Santa Margarita (3-0) made the biggest opening week statement, shutting out El Toro (1-1) 13-0. The Chargers, who usually are a perennial OC powerhouse, are under new coaches this season and might take some time to find a new team identity. SMCHS also handily took down Newport Harbor (0-3) 15-2 and defeated Los Alamitos (2-1) 9-8.

Chris Groel, Palisafes
Palisades, with senior Chris Groel (pictured in the 2012 LA County title game), is off to a 3-0 start.

• Not to be outdone, Palisades (3-0), last year’s L.A. County runner-up, posted three shutouts to start 2013: an 18-0 win over Manual Arts (1-1), a 14-0 win over Downey (0-1), and a 16-0 win over Westchester (0-1). Now, the Dolphins are no doubt going to be a solid team this season, but take the opening shutouts with a grain of salt — Manual Arts and Downey were a combined 11-19 last year, and Westchester is in its first year of CIF play. Two of those were league games for Palisades.

• Thousand Oaks (1-0) also held its first 2013 opponent scoreless, taking down first-year program Simi Valley (0-1) 18-0.

• Crespi (2-0), coached by Liv Lax director Brock Livingston, won its first two 2013 contests, beating Oaks Christian (0-1) and West Ranch (0-2).

• Foothill (3-0), a year removed from its first non-championship season in six years, started 2013 off with a thrilling 8-7 win over Tesoro (1-1). Both teams look to be contenders again this year. Foothill also took down San Clemente 14-4 over the weekend to avenge last year’s OC semifinal loss.

• San Clemente (1-1) did win its opener, 12-8, over St. Margaret’s (1-1) in a game that saw St. Margaret’s coach Glen Miles facing his former squad. Miles, who led San Clemente to the Orange County finals last year, was unable to get the best of his old team as new Tritons coach Mike Hutnick led his team to a victory.

Kyle Harrison, JSerra
JSerra and coach Kyle Harrison prepped for the season by winning Sand Storm 2013 in January.

Kyle Harrison’s JSerra squad (2-0) took down Newport Harbor 16-9 in their opening game and then defeated Dana Hills (1-1) by ten goals to cap off their opening games.

• Oak Park (2-2) opened with an 8-2 loss at Foothill, then beat Chaminade 19-2 on Friday night before falling to St. Margaret’s 8-7 on Saturday. The Eagles then beat Redondo Union 8-4 on Monday.

• Palos Verdes (0-0) and Corona del Mar (0-0), last year’s CIF runner-up and champion, respectively, have yet to play a game in the young season.

• And I would be remiss not to mention my alma mater, the Northwood Timberwolves, as they have opened the season 3-0 for the first time in program history.

Best of luck to all CIF teams competing this year! And remember, tweet news and scores to @SouthlandLax and @krowen on Twitter!