After a rousing victory over Sacred Heart Prep (13-5, 11-1) on Senior Night last week, the Palo Alto High School boys’ lacrosse team (13-7,9-5) will host Menlo-Atherton High School (12-1, 8-5) tomorrow in the semifinals of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League playoffs. The second-seeded Vikings earned a bye from the first round.
Paly’s emotional win Thursday, 11-8, over the previously undefeated Sacred Heart Prep Gators in what was expected to be the seniors’ last home game should give the team some momentum, according to senior defender Josh Stern.
“I think our win over Sacred Heart will motivate us to keep pushing for the championship,” Stern said. “Sacred Heart was undefeated up until that point so we feel like we have much of a shot as anyone.”
The Vikings played the Menlo Atherton Bears twice this season, coming up with close victories, 11-9 and 5-4, each time. According to senior defender James Harrison, the Vikings and the Bears share a strong rivalry.
“They are very similar to us, skilled and athletic, and are our main rivals,” Harrison said. “We beat them last year to end their undefeated season similarly to what we did to SHP.”
Even though Paly has proven itself victorious, Stern anticipated a strong showing from the Bears.
“We’re undefeated against MA this year so they’re definitely going to come at us with everything they’ve got,” he said. “They’ve had a lot of success in the past and have been a great playoff team, so I think we’ll get the best of them on Wednesday, but we absolutely have enough potential to stay undefeated against them for the year.”
With this playoff game, Paly seniors get one more chance to play on their home turf.
“It is our last game at home and all the seniors as well as everyone else on the team have been fired up the whole week,” Stern said. “We’ve never been seeded this high as a program so we intend to finish the best we can.”
“We are very evenly matched and it’s looking to be a great game,” Harrison added. ” After beating SHP we have a new confidence that we will hope to carry us through this week of playoffs and to the championship.”
The Vikings will host the Bears at 7 p.m. tomorrow evening on the El Camino Field at Paly.