Short 13 seniors from last year, the Palo Alto High School girls’ lacrosse team (1-1) is nonetheless aiming to carry on the team’s success with a whole new group of starters.
Last season ended with a 14-15 nail-biting loss in triple-overtime to Saint Francis High School in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League finals. Then-seniors, including Charlotte Biffar, a member of the German National team, and Nina Kelty, who earned All-American honors, were main contributors for the squad. Multiple other seniors also continued on to play Division I one lacrosse in college. Overall, the team had a highly successful season, going 15-1.
Redeeming themselves against Saint Francis ranks high on the team’s to-do list this year, according to junior midfielder Allie Peery.
“It [Our goal] is definitely to beat St. Francis since we have lost to them three consecutive years in the championships,” Peery said. “We also want to work really hard and work together given the amount of seniors we lost last year. We have big shoes to fill.”
Senior co-captain and midfielder Kristen DeStefano says unity will be a key factor in determining the team’s success this season, given a revised starting lineup with the loss of key seniors from last year.
“Our goal this season is to unite as one team, and since we did lose more than half of our team and we lost a lot of key players we are pretty much starting from the beginning and redoing everything,” DeStefano said.
This year, Jamie Nesbitt, previously only the varsity coach, has had to split her time between the both the junior varsity and varsity squads, which has been tough for both teams, according to DeStefano.
“It is hard at times but our team is very adaptable and we are able to pull through at the times when it’s the hardest,” DeStefano said. “Jamie [Nesbitt] divides up her time with J.V. and varsity pretty evenly. … Jamie is really good at balancing everything out.”
Peery mirrors the sentiment that Nesbitt is good at balancing the time between the teams.
“She is a great coach and balances each team very well, whether it’s staggering the practice times or combining J.V. and varsity for conditioning,” Peery said. “It all works out and we are so lucky to have a coach in the first place.”
Other goals for the team this year are dedication on the field and hard work at practice, according to junior defensive middle Amalia Roth.
“Our first [goal] is to give 100 percent at all of our practices and so that way it translates into the game,” Roth said. “We want to work hard and keep each other accountable for what we do and give each other constructive criticism and feedback on how to improve.”
The team has already competed in two pre-season games against Menlo-Atherton and Saint Ignatius High Schools, respectively. The Vikings crushed M-A, 15-8, and then fell to Saint Ignatius, 3-15.
The Vikings will next face off against Oak Ridge High School at 7 p.m. Friday at Oak Ridge in another non-league game. League play will begin Wednesday on the road against Los Gatos.