Evan Egan Anchors Torrey Pines Defense, Wins West Player of the Year

Evan Egan recorded 63 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers as the leader of the Torrey Pines (Calif.) defense this season.

Evan Egan has played a big role in the Torrey Pines (Calif.) defense the past few years, but going into his senior season, he was given a little more freedom to just take over at will.

The Falcons needed their captain and best player to step up in crucial situations, and that’s what he did all season.

After leading the team to its first CIF San Diego Open Division title since 2013 with a 19-1 finish and No. 15 national ranking, Egan is the Warrior/US Lacrosse Magazine West Region Boys’ Player of the Year.

“Coach [Jono] Zissi has always given me the green light for offense and pushing transition so this year was more about just recognizing where I was needed as far as clearing the ball and taking risks with turnovers and riskier tracks,” said Egan, who will continue his career at North Carolina. “My role has pretty much been the same since sophomore year but this year I was just given the green light to push it a little more.”

Egan, an All-American defenseman, finished with 63 ground balls and 27 caused turnovers on a team that allowed double-digit goals just once, but so much more of what he did does not show up in statistics.

Aside from being a lockdown defender, captain and vocal leader, Egan also was the catalyst to the offense.

“Every game he was one of the best athletes on the field,” Zissi said. “If they went at him, they couldn’t get past him and he neutralized every team’s best player. Either they didn’t want to go against him or he stopped them. That changes the game. He’s just so superior. His stick work is so good for a long pole, and our style is transition, so we needed someone like Evan’s stick skills to move the defense into the offense. That’s our whole M.O., and he got us going.”

Perhaps the best example of that came in the championship game.

Torrey Pines came back from a 3-0 deficit against Coronado, but couldn’t seem to get the momentum to push ahead until Egan came up with an overhead strip to end a fast break on goal, recovered the ball and transitioned into the offense.

Two passes later, the Falcons had a 4-3 lead and never again trailed en route to a 7-5 win.

“That’s the kind of play you need from your best player,” Zissi said. “That completely changed the game.”

That was a play the Falcons just couldn’t seem to get in past years on the big stage. Torrey Pines, despite being the No. 1 seed, lost to Coronado in the 2017 semifinals and that followed two straight runner-up finishes.

Past shortcomings were a motivating factor for Egan all year, as he and the other seniors wanted to change their fate and go out with a title.

“When we were expected to win it didn’t necessarily happen and Torrey Pines hadn’t won in a few years so that kind of hung over our heads,” Egan said. "It set us on fire because our senior class had all lost the title game, and we knew the difference between one practice and being one goal off in a final. We wanted to make sure we were not in that position again this year.”

A lot of the team’s success came down to the veteran defense, especially with a lot of young players in the attack.

Torrey Pines ended up with the second best offense in the San Diego area, scoring 12.9 goals per game, but it was the defense that set the tone. The Falcons’ only loss was a 14-4 decision at Darien (Conn.) after taking a red-eye to the East Coast, and they followed that with a win over eventual Connecticut Class L champion Ridgefield.

“We knew it was our job to hold teams to as few goals as possible, especially being a group that’s played together and had big roles on varsity since sophomore, early junior year,” Egan said. “We knew it was going to be our leadership and what we brought defensively that would give us advantages over other teams.

“We got better every game, and it definitely was an awesome season. Winning the title was awesome. In some ways it was a big relief, but in other ways it was just so exciting to accomplish the goals we set. It was such a great feeling, and to do it with a group of guys that are your best friends is even better.”



School: Torrey Pines (Calif.)

Year: Senior

Position: Defenseman

Stats: 63 ground balls, 27 caused turnovers

Coach Jon Zissi: “He was our best player. He was our captain and unequivocal leader. Not one person doesn’t respect him. He’s the guy. It’s his team, and when he spoke you listened. He was a leader on and off the field.”

Also considered: Andrew Cumming, Foothill (Calif.); Drew Erickson, San Ramon Valley (Calif.); Jake Taylor, Regis Jesuit (Colo.)



1. Torrey Pines (Calif.), 19-1

The Falcons rallied from a three-goal deficit to claim the CIF San Diego Open Division championship with a 7-5 win over Coronado (Calif.), which had knocked them out in the semifinals last year. Torrey Pines suffered its only loss to national No. 14 Darien (Conn.) and finished right behind the Blue Wave at No. 15 thanks to a victory over eventual Connecticut Class L champion Ridgefield. Sophomore Blake Erlbeck led with 58 points on 33 goals and 25 assists, while junior Alex Pistorious had a team-high 38 goals to go with 11 assists. Seniors Shayne Grant (Richmond) and Spencer Grant (Michigan) were solid in the midfield, as Shayne had 25 goals and 20 assists and Spencer collected a team-high 68 groundballs.

2. Regis Jesuit (Colo.), 18-1

The Raiders claimed their fourth state title in eight years with a 10-4 win over Kent Denver (Colo.) in the Class 5A final. Regis Jesuit was playing in its fifth straight state final and has won three titles since 2014 but lost to Cherry Creek last year. Their lone loss this season was to Torrey Pines, but they rebounded to beat La Costa Canyon (Calif.) two days later and finished on a 15-game win streak. Junior Jake Taylor led the team with 62 goals and 16 assists, while senior Anders Erickson added 34 goals and 35 assists and junior Joe Kassal had 70 ground balls and a .535 faceoff percentage.

3. Loyola-Los Angeles (Calif.), 21-4

The Cubs claimed their third straight Southern Section title with a 10-9 decision over St. Margaret’s Episcopal, thanks to freshman Owen Gaffney’s game-winner in overtime. Loyola, which lost to St. Margaret’s on March 17, ended the season on a nine-game winning streak, including a 9-5 victory over Palos Verdes in the Los Angeles championship.

4. San Ramon Valley (Calif.), 22-2

The Wolves finished as the North Coast Section champions after beating De La Salle (Calif.) 15-7 in the final. Last year, SRV lost in the semifinals, but the Wolves escaped Granite Bay (Calif.) 9-6 to advance to the title game this time. Drew Erickson finished the season with 107 points on 92 goals and 15 assists, goalie Cole French posted a 4.22 goals against average and 60 percent save rate and Cathal Roberts led the team in ground balls with 64.

5. Coronado (Calif.), 15-5

The third-seeded Islanders beat No. 2-seeded La Costa Canyon (Calif.) 11-10 in the San Diego Open Division tournament semifinals to avenge a regular-season loss and advance to the final for a second straight year. The Islanders had lost to LCC in the final last year and once again finished as the runners up after falling to Torrey Pines, 7-5, in the championship game.

6. La Costa Canyon (Calif.), 15-3

The Mavericks didn’t get a chance to defend their 2017 state title after falling to Coronado, 11-10, in the semifinals of the San Diego Open Division tournament. The Mavs graduate just three seniors and most notably will return attackman J.J. Sillstrop, who tallied 69 goals and 20 assists this year as a junior.

7. Bellevue (Wash.), 17-2

The Wolverines claimed their third straight state title with an 8-6 win over 2017 runner-up Mercer Island (Wash.) in the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association Class 3A state final. Bellevue hasn’t lost to an in-state opponent since last April. The team’s two losses this year were against nationally-ranked Haverford (Pa.) and Garden City (N.Y.).

8. St. Margaret’s Episcopal (Calif.), 19-3

The Tartans overcame a five-goal deficit to beat Foothill-Santa Ana (Calif.) 12-11 in double overtime in the Orange County championship but couldn’t survive another close battle in the Southern Section final against Loyola. They had beaten Loyola 8-4 during the regular season. St. Margaret’s other losses were to Torrey Pines and Palos Verdes (Calif.).

9. Kent Denver (Colo.), 15-4

The Sun Devils avenged a regular-season loss to Arapahoe (Colo.) to advance to the Class 5A state final, but couldn’t keep up with the only other Colorado team to beat them this season as they fell 10-4 to Regis Jesuit in the championship game. It was Kent’s first trip to the final since 2011, an 11-10 loss to Regis.

10. Palos Verdes (Calif.), 19-4

The Sea Kings led 5-3 midway through the third quarter but gave up six unanswered goals and lost to Loyola-Los Angeles for a third year in a row in the Southern Section Los Angeles championships. Palos Verdes was making its eighth consecutive appearance in the L.A. championship game under coach Jimmy Borell.

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