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Top 10 Program Previews: #4 ESD

03/09/2018, 10:15am CST
By Editor

The Eagles lose key contributors due to graduation but have tons of quality in the pipeline.

2017 Recap
In 2017 the ESD Eagles made an unbelievable run at the Championship and they almost had it.  A State Championship and an undefeated run slipped right through their hands.  ESD was 18-0 heading into the Championship game with a regular season North District Title in hand, along with their 4th consecutive SPC Crown.  The Eagles held a 6-1 lead, and well you know the rest.  If you don’t, check out our 2017 D1 Season Recap it breaks it down.  The Eagles turn their sights on 2018 and getting back to the Title Game.

Key Losses
Nakeie Montgomery – Midfield – Duke
Paxton Marks – LSM – THE Ohio State
Shawn Tran – Attack – MCLA Cal Berkley
Christian Viracola – Defense - Notre Dame

Major Changes
Generating Offense: The Eagles have had the likes of Nakeie Montgomery and Sam Romano on the roster for the last 6 years.  That type of talent impacts everything.  While the top end guys for ESD are very good you can’t just replace a Nakeie Montgomery on O.  It changes things in a major way.  Fortunate for ESD they have a ton of young skilled players to share the load, and learn from their current top tier talent.

Committed Players
Patrick Skalniak 2018 – Navy
Brandon Meaux 2018 – Georgetown
Braden Rhone 2018 – Washington & Lee
Chase Toledo 2018 – Utah
Scott Bower 2019 – Virginia
Carson Raney 2019 – Loyola

Rising Stars
Danny Kung 2019
John Heldman 2019
Henry Watson 2020
Preston Morway 2020
Caden Dundon 2020
Drew Wasserman 2020
Jack Loftus 2020
Reed Landin 2021

Keys to the Upcoming Year
Offensive Production – Will come down to not just the top end talent, but all the Eagles across the board.  Skalniak and Meaux are matchup problems but they’ll need help and everyone to contribute.  Braden Rhone is an X Factor as he has the ability to be absolutely dominate when teams throw their top two polls at Meaux and Skalniak.  If Rhone has a shorty, he’s definitely the matchup.  Down low at attack, sophomores Drew Wasserman, Caden Dundon, and Thomas Matta will take care of the ball and finish the opportunities they are presented.  

At the midfield senior Blair Oden, Danny Kung, and Jack Loftus provide solid play.  Oden is athletic and strong on defense, Kung is a facilitator and makes everyone better and Loftus is a playmaker.  He knows how to get leverage and can carry with pressure all day.  Another player who will make plays for the Eagles offense is freshman Reed Landin.  Landin is the lone Eagles lefty and the quicker he can get dialed in on execution the greater impact he will make. 

Team Strengths
Lock down defense:  While in years past the focus for ESD has been their ability to get buckets, this year it could be the opposite.  The Eagles defensive core is at an all time high and could be the basis of their success for the next couple of seasons.  Their #1 shutdown is the talented Scott Bower.  Bower’s tenacity and athleticism allow him to match up with anyone.  Complimenting Bower are Carson Raney, Chase Toledo, Henry Watson and Andrew Griffin.  Raney is very tough to deal with due to his overall size and excellent handles.  Toledo is strong and doesn’t give up an inch.  Watson is another physical presence down low who checks hard and uses his body, while Andrew Griffin has tons of reach and dangles to boot.  Griffin will be one of the top LSM’s across the State by the time it’s all said and done. 

In cage, this ESD defense is fortified by one of the best teammates and all around leaders in Texas Lacrosse, Prescott King.  King, who played a huge roll in the Eagles success in 2017 brings a charisma and energy to the defense that everyone feeds off of.  He wants to win, and he wants to do a good job, and everyone can tell how much he cares.  He wills his team into a position to win, and together they take care of the rest.

The Eagles are talented once again.  They have tons of players who compete and know how to win, and are hungry to make their own mark.  If they stay healthy, their upperclassmen can provide the leadership to get back to Championship weekend.  If they execute at a very high level, they could make a run at the title.

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