By John Philip Wyllie
Currently atop the Metro Lacrosse standings with an 11-16 overall record and a single blemish against seven league victories, the Eastlake Titans appear to be closing in on a league banner. Their upcoming match against Otay Ranch may decide if they win the title outright or have to share it with the Mustangs and Bonita Vista High. On offense, veteran players like (BYU-bound) Dustin Drees and Ryan Rosas have lead the way with support from stellar midfielders Jose Urrutia Dan Lyons and Chad Larson. Their 9.76 goals per game average is a major reason why the Titans have enjoyed so much success. But that is not the whole story.
Defensively, the stingy Eastlake defense has allowed an average of only 5.3 goals per game. Take away a few beatings administered by several of the county’s elite teams and that average would shrink considerably. All-star goalie, David Johnson has for the most part been impenetrable. He has benefited from the help of a very capable defense. Alex Welling and Brian Lehner have combined with the Tamayo twins, Derek and Eric to take some of the pressure off of Johnson.
“I’m a starter on defense and I usually play on the left wing," said Derek Tamayo. "We try to support our goalie and keep the attackers out on the perimeter as much as possible. We do a lot of hitting, but it is more finesse than it is hitting. A lot of teamwork is required and we do a lot of double-teaming and ball stripping. I’m one of the least experienced guys out there, so I am learning a lot from Alex Welling and Brian Lehner. It is a real team thing and they have really helped me out. We can’t do anything without each other.”
Tamayo is a three-sport athlete playing roller hockey and football when they are in season. Lacrosse however, is by far his favorite.
“Lacrosse is just so much different from any other sport that I have played. It’s a really dynamic sport that has aspects that I like from several other sports. In lacrosse, they are mixed all into one. It is kind of like soccer and hockey put together. With all the sports that I play I always have something to do and there is never a dull moment. Having a twin brother to play with has helped me to improve,” Ta-mayo added.
Right now, Tamayo looks to the 14 seniors on the team for leadership, but next year the burden of leadership will fall upon him and of course his twin brother and a few other returning players.
“He and his identical twin brother are who we will be looking to for leadership next year,” said his coach, Doug Murphy. “He’s good at shutting people down and he is real strong. I like the way he has cut down his penalties this season. That shows a lot of discipline and self-restraint. He is definitely going to be a big key to our team’s success next season.”