It's still very early in the league season, but the Sacred Heart Prep boys have emerged as the apparent frontrunner in the PAL Bay Division lacrosse race.
The Gators opened their division season with an 11-5 victory over defending regular-season champion Menlo School on Tuesday. The host Gators (1-0, 7-1) took a step toward avenging two losses to the Knights (1-1, 2-8) last season.
Will Kremer led the way with three goals with Frank Bell, Harrison Toig and Tommy Barnds all adding two. Jack Crockett had four assists plus a goal and goalie Cory Wiebe finished with six saves.
While the Gators lost the regular-season title to the Knights in 2015, they did bounce back to claim the playoff crown with a big triumph over Menlo.
SHP grabbed a 3-1 first-quarter lead and never trailed after that. It was 6-2 at halftime and 8-4 heading into the final period.
Menlo was led by senior midfielder Peter Gish, who scored three goals. It was his second game this season with three or more tallies. Sophomore David Schmaier and junior Zeke Coxe added solo tallied while junior goalie Jack McNally had nine saves.
Menlo remained unbeaten in the PAL Ocean Division following a 3-1 victory over host King's Academy in Sunnyvale.
The Knights (6-0, 13-2) continued to roll in league play as senior Chandler Yu improved to 5-0 while allowing one earned run in six innings. RJ Babiera earned his second save of the season.
After King's took a 1-0 lead after the first inning, Menlo senior David Farnham answered with a double to drive in Yu. Rylan Pade led off the third with a single and eventually scored the winning run on a passed ball.
Jared Lucian provided the final run, in the seventh, by stealing home. The teams will meet again Thursday, at Menlo, at 4 p.m.
Sacred Heart Prep bounced back from a dual-match loss to Menlo on Monday and defeated Pinewood, 203-287, at Shoreline Golf Links on Tuesday in WBAL action. Will Johnson led the Gators (3-3, 3-5) with an even-par 36 with Anikait Bhardwaj shooting 39. Shane Snow and Holland Sutton added matching 41s.
Pinewood dropped its WBAL Foothill Division opener, 9-2, to visiting King's Academy. Aisley Njissang struck out nine for the Panthers (0-1, 4-2) and allowed just six hits, but walked seven while her teammates committed six errors.
Menlo remained perfect in the West Bay Athletic League and kept its ongoing state record for consecutive league dual-match wins intact with a 7-0 triumph over visiting Pinewood.
The Knights improved to 6-0 in league and 9-3 overall heading into matches Thursday (at Priory) and Friday (hosting Sacred Heart Prep). Menlo is now 234-0 in league dual matches since 1994.
Brothers Nathan and Clark Safran led Menlo at the top of the singles while brothers Michael and David Quezada took the No. 3 and 4 singles matches while losing just one game between them.
In Portola Valley, visiting Sacred Heart Prep also remained unbeaten in the WBAL following a 7-0 victory over Priory. The Gators (4-0, 8-3) swept through the singles while losing only a combined six games behind straight-set wins by Josh Lin, John Desler, Will Ritchey and Matt Dillabough.