Paly girls move on
of six matches
It has been a tumultuous week for the Palo Alto girls' lacrosse team, which has experienced the high of being tied for first place in the SCVAL De Anza Division before facing the low — having to forfeit six matches due to an ineligible player.
The Vikings, however, bounced back from that disappointing news last week and posted a 12-8 victory over visiting Pioneer to keep its playoff hopes alive.
The Vikings, who would have been 10-1 in league without the forfeits, are now 4-7 (6-9 overall) with three league matches remaining. Next up will be a home match against fourth-place Los Gatos on Friday at 7 p.m.
Despite a steady rain in the second half and missing numerous players to illness and injury, the Vikings moved comfortably ahead when goals by Simone Buteau, Emy Kelty and Anna Marie Drez pushed their lead to 8-4.
Drez scored a career-high three goals while Allie Peery had a career-best two. Kelty and Charlotte Biffar finished with two goals while goalie Emma Beckstrom made eight saves. Captain Kimmie Flather won eight draws for Paly while the team's underclassmen stepped up their games while contributing to the victory.
The forfeits were a result of a violation involving one player who transferred from Menlo-Atherton to Palo Alto High at mid-term. She joined the lacrosse team at the beginning of the season, but the proper paper work of her transfer was not filed with the CCS office.
"We didn't catch the situation in time and another school filed a complaint with CCS," Palo Alto Principal Phil Winston wrote in an e-mail. "So, we did an investigation and the result, based on CCS rules, is the team has to forfeit the games the student played in.
"This has raised questions for me about our enrollment process and the checks and balances within our athletic department for new students that want to play a sport," Winston added. "This terrible, unfortunate situation has caused us to review our enrollment process and has resulted in additional checks and balances to ensure this doesn't ever happen again."
Winston added that the student and family are not responsible for the situation.
"We are responsible for this unfortunate situation," he said. "We also have an action plan to ensure this doesn't happen again."
Paly Athletic Director Earl Hansen, who said he was unaware the new athlete was on the team, also said the athlete needed to get the proper papers from him, which he also needs to sign.
"The paper work was not done," said Hansen. "I don't think there was any malicious intent; that one piece of paper was not filed with the CCS."
Hansen said letters were sent to the schools involved in the forfeits and apologies were made by Palo Alto. Despite the foul up, Hansen didn't lay blame on the athlete or coach. It was pretty much a lack of communication.
"This one just fell through the cracks," he said.
Palo Alto still can finish 7-7 and conceivably qualify for a postseason playoff berth. The Vikings won the SCVAL playoff title two seasons ago and finished second last season to St. Francis.
Next week, Palo Alto has a winnable game at Leland on Wednesday before wrapping up the regular season on May 4 against Sequoia, which forfeited its previous match to the Vikings on April 13.
The first round of the SCVAL playoffs will be the semifinals on May 9, with the finals scheduled for May 12.