By Tom Hoglund
Special to Palo Alto Online Sports
On a blustery Saturday afternoon at Woodside High, the Menlo School boys' lacrosse team upset and outplayed No. 1 seed Mountain View to take the 2011 SCVAL playoff championship, 11-9.
The win revenged Menlo's upset loss in the semis to last year's champion Palo Alto, and complemented the Menlo girls' WBAL title over Sacred Heart Prep earlier Saturday morning. Menlo finished 16-7 overall.
Wiley Osborne has been the locomotive driving Menlo's offense all season long. Although Osborne's shooting was cold early on -- his first six shots missed the cage altogether -- four of his next five found the back of the net, and the talented sophomore's four-goal, three-assist performance was the difference in leading the Knights past the Spartans.
The teams traded early goals toward a 4-4 score at the end of the first period, then played even until the last 2 1/2 minutes of the half, when Osborne took advantage of Menlo's first man-up opportunity to feed a teammate for a 5-4 lead. Less than a minute later, Osborne found net himself driving through two defenders for a close range dunk shot and a two-goal lead. Sam Brigham's athletic ground ball recovery and goal right before the half reduced the Knights' lead to one.
Menlo held a 6-5 lead at halftime and scored three unanswered goals in the third period.
"We switched to a much more aggressive defense … and took away their outside shooting, " Menlo coach Todd Blumbergs said.
Osborne scored twice unassisted and Nick Schultz pitched in with another for a 9-5 advantage. The two each added another goal in the fourth period to give Menlo a cushion.
Mountain View responded with a man-up goal near the end of period three to make it a 9-6 game, then two more goals early in the fourth period to cut the lead to one.
Dousing the hopes of Mountain View players and fans, Osborne and Schultz then tallied unassisted goals for an 11-8 Menlo lead. The Spartans managed a single goal in the last five minutes, due largely to effective stalling by Osborne and the Knights' offense, resulting in the 11-9 final score.
Osborne paced the Knights' attack with a game-high four goals and made three assists. Schultz pitched in with three goals and an assist. Senior Phil Taylor won 10 of 18 face-offs, and was clutch in the end. Junior Peter Tight had six ground balls. Luc McNally finished with 10 saves for the Knights.
Menlo senior Ryan Stastny, junior Pete Foster, sophomore Connor Paterson and freshman Ben Garfinkel each scored a goal. Sophomore Matt Bradley added an assist.
Brigham led Mountain View with three goals and an assist, with teammate Grant Weinman also scoring three goals.