Culver City Observer -

By Steve Finley
Sports Editor 

Culver City's best boy's lacrosse team hopes to win a title

 

George Laase

Culver City senior Lacrosse players from left to right, #24 Quinten Brunson, #51 Gabe Mariotti, #2 Justin Beighey, #0 Ray Sugiyama, #22 Joe Fratantuno, #4 Caleb Martin.

When someone says you are the best, that puts a lot of pressure on that team. Just ask the Lakers and Dodgers. The Culver City boys' lacrosse team hopes to prove everyone right when they start the CIF playoffs at home Friday at 6 p.m. against El Dorado from Placentia. The Centaurs are the No. 2 seeded team in Division 2. They are 16-2 overall and 8-0 in the Ocean league. They outscored their league opponents 127-6.

"This is the best team in Culver City history. We knew how good this years team was going to be last year when we did not have any seniors on the team and we were 5-2 before the season was cut short because of the pandemic," said head coach Casey Chabola during a telephone interview this week. "Coming into this year we had a pretty good idea how good we were going to be."

Chabola continued to say, "These are all of the kids that have grown up in our program and they have played together and won a championship at Culver City middle school and they have stayed together through high school. When they were in seventh and eighth grade, they were undefeated and won their league. It was the first time a public school had ever won a league championship."

Now Chabola and his coaching staff are hoping to win a CIF championship with this group of talented and seasoned players. "It's our balance between offense and defense that makes us good. We put it all together. It's a group of kids and families that have been together since the third and fourth grade that came up in our youth program."

Senior leadership is important at every school and at every level and this Centaur team is fortunate to have an excellent group of seniors. "The seniors have been amazing," said Chabola. "They grew up in the program and they have really taken on the leadership role as seniors."

The seniors and the rest of the team has also been instrumental in bringing awareness to problems outside of the Culver City campus. "The big issue nationwide has been about social justice," said Chabola. "We had shirts this year that said Enough is Enough. We had it translated into all the different languages that are spoken on our team and this was the players idea. They wanted to take a stand making sure we are inclusive of all the different nationalities and races when it comes to the social justice issues that are happening around us."

Being a teacher in the Culver City school district and having a son on the team helps Chabola keep a pulse on the younger generation. "The relationship our coaching staff has built over the years has allowed us to let the players be themselves, but we can also be more structured when we have to. It' all about the long standing relationships with the players."

The other Culver City team in the CIF playoffs is the girls' lacrosse team. Their opening round game is Saturday on the road against Murrieta Mesa at 11 a.m. Nine swimmers qualified for CIF and the boys' tennis team was eliminated in the first round of CIF. The boys and girls track and field teams hope to win league championships on Friday at Redondo Union high school at the Bay league finals. Other teams hoping to make the CIF playoffs are softball and baseball.

 

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