Defending SCVAL champion Palo Alto knocked off visiting University School, 11-9, in nonleague boys' lacrosse action Tuesday night. The upset win further established the young Vikings' program (3-0), in just its second year, as an emerging lacrosse power on the Peninsula.
Although Paly won the inaugural boys' SCVAL lacrosse championship last year while defeating a favored Menlo School team enroute to the title, the Vikings had little success against the Red Devils last season while an 11-4 loss at the select San Francisco private school. The story was very different on Tuesday as a more polished Vikings' squad survived early man-down goals and possession fouls to surge ahead in the fourth quarter for the win.
Paly players learned early in the game that high school lacrosse in Northern California has adopted stricter guidelines against physical body checks this season, as the Vikings were saddled with two non-releasable penalties for a total of five minutes in the first quarter. University profited from the fouls by scoring three man-up goals. Paly goals by Walker Mees, Jonny Glazier, and Zach Spain kept the Vikings even, however, and it was 3-3 at the end of the first.
Another man-up goal by University right before the half gave it a 7-6 lead, which was coaxed through a low scoring third quarter for an 8-7 advantage. Paly midfielder John Brunett then hit another gear, however, as he reeled off three goals in the game's last four minutes. Thanks to an additional goal by Viking attackman Cory Valenti, and the Red Devils' last man-up goal with under 30 seconds remaining changed only the final score.
Brunett had three goals and an assist while Spain finished with four goals and two assists for Paly.
In girls' lacrosse action:
Sacred Heart Prep opened its season with a 13-11 nonleague victory over visiting Los Gatos. The Gators got off to a fast start, taking a 7-1 lead before Los Gatos came storming back to make it 7-6. The momentum swung back and forth with the Gators edging into the lead and holding on.
SHP senior co-captain Kendall Cody led the way with five goals and three assists, followed by senior co-captain Julia Keller with three goals and three assists. Freshman Caroline Cummings added three goals and one assist in her debut. Senior Maddie Del Santo logged a goal as did sophomore Melissa Holland, also a standout on the Sacred Heart basketball squad. Sophomore goalie Emily Westerfield had eight saves to keep the Gators in the lead.
In San Jose, Menlo-Atherton (1-2) got its first win of the season as Becca Higgit scored six times and Julia Farino added four in a 23-3 nonleague romp over host Harker. Sydney Novak-Federmeyer, Madison Frame and Therese Regonini all had three goals while Diane Masket and Christina Rodgers provided three assists each.
In Pleasanton, Palo Alto opened its season with an 18-6 loss to host Amador Valley on Tuesday. Nina Kelty and Kimmie Flather each scored twice for the Vikings.
In Saratoga, Castilleja junior Martha Harding scored eight goals in a 20-15 nonleague victory over the host Falcons. Senior Stephanie Merenbach added seven goals and senior Charlotte Geaghan-Breiner added four for the Gators.
In a battle between unbeaten teams, host Menlo School was less than perfect while dropping a 9-2 nonleague decision to St. Francis on Tuesday.
The Knights (5-1) committed four errors while the Lancers (6-0) played flawlessly, scoring five runs in the fifth to break open a tie game. Menlo committed all four of its errors in the inning while St. Francis stole four bases.
Menlo starter Jake Bruml pitched 5 1/3 innings with only one walk while striking out three. Junior Dylan Mayer had two singles and made a great running catch in center field to rob the Lancers of at least two runs in the third.
Also in Atherton, Menlo-Atherton pulled ahead early and held on for a 5-2 nonleague win over host Sacred Heart Prep (1-4). Michael Abramson and Isaac Block each had two hits for the Bears while Kyle Zirbes added a double and Casey Eason provided two RBI.