The Sacred Heart Prep girls' lacrosse team achieved the greatest triumph in program history by defeating rival Menlo School for the first time ever, 13-8, to wrap up the regular season in the West Bay Athletic League (Foothill Division) on Thursday.
The victory gave the Gators (9-1, 17-1) a share of the division title with the perennial champion Knights (9-1, 11-7). and ended Menlo's 59-match win streak in league matches that began in 2007.
"it was very exciting!" said SHP coach Nicole Marris. "We knew what we needed to do today to beat Menlo. The team knew they had the skills and the ability all season, they just needed to work together and execute effectively and that is exactly what they did."
The first half was back and forth and tied 5-5 at the half. Then the Gators' offense just stepped it up.
"The girls knew not to get the ball into the hand of the Menlo offense and that all came down to ball control. We won over 70 percent of the draws. It was about keeping possession on offense and controlling the tempo of the game. The girls moved the ball around and worked the Menlo defense until they could get an accurate shot. We also utilized turnovers and turned those into goals."
Caroline Cummings led SHP with four goals with freshmen Libby Muir and Ally Mayle each adding three. Sophomore Brigid White scored twice and senior Melissa Holland tallied once as SHP avenged its only loss of the season, 13-6 to Menlo a few weeks ago.
"The defense gave it their all," said Marris. "They worked together to keep the (Menlo) top scorers from getting the ball and stopping it in that transition, so they couldn't get a breakaway goal."
Goalie Emily Westerfield had 10 saves for the Gators.
"The team has had the ability all season, they just pulled it together today and didn't let the fact that they were playing 'Menlo' get to them," Marris said. "They played their best and this time it was enough."
Ali Kim led Menlo with three goals and two assists while fellow senior Brooke Bullington had two goals and two assists. Sam Hoag added two goals with Parvathi Narayan scoring once.
Menlo came into the match ranked No. 1 in the Central Coast Section and No. 5 in the state, by lax power.com. SHP was No. 2 in CCS and No. 7 in the state. The Gators will take a six-match winning streak into next week's WBAL playoffs, with the likelihood of facing Menlo again in the championship match next Saturday at Harker School. Both Menlo and SHP will have byes into the semifinals on Thursday and will host.
In the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League, host Palo Alto celebrated Senior Night in a big way as the Vikings wrapped up a perfect league season (14-0) with a 20-3 romp over visiting Leland. The Vikings (17-2) will be the top seed for the upcoming league playoffs next week.
Seniors led the way for Paly as Nina Kelty had three goals and two assists, Charlotte Biffar had two goals as did Anna Dairaghi, Simone Buteau, Julia Farino and Bria Vicenti. The Vikings had 12 seniors score.
In boys' lacrosse action, previously unbeaten Menlo-Atherton (10-1, 13-6) suffered a 13-11 loss to visiting Palo Alto (8-4, 13-5) in SCVAL play. Jonny Glazier had four goals and four assists for Paly while Tully McAlister, Jordan Gans, and Logan Mendenhall each had at least two goals.
Menlo-Atherton jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter and held an 8-6 halftime lead. The second half was dominated by a fastbreak Paly offense, and a very hard-fought and intense game.
The SCVAL playoffs start on Monday with seedings yet to be determined in the El Camino Division. M-A is first, SHP is second, Paly is third, and Menlo fourth in the De Anza Division. The No. 2 seed in the El Camino Division will play at Paly on Monday at 7 p.m. Semifinals are Wednesday with the title game set for Saturday.