Despite a strong showing in the first quarter of the game, the Palo Alto High School boys’ lacrosse team (13-7, 9-5) was unable to fend off a comeback from the Menlo-Atherton (13-11, 9-5) Bears in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League semifinal on Wednesday, resulting in a 11-10 loss for the Vikings and an end to the team’s season.
The Vikings pulled ahead quickly at the start of the game, with a 4-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, however, M-A began its comeback, with the Vikings still leading 6-5 at half-time but reaching a 9-9 tie at the end of the third quarter.
“We came out unbelievably strong in the first quarter and fell apart in the second quarter,” Paly coach DJ Shelton said.
Senior midfielder Jordan Gans, who scored five goals for the Vikings throughout the game, echoed Shelton’s sentiment that the second quarter was a turning point in the game.
“Second quarter is where we fell apart and they came back twice in the second and third quarter,” Gans said. “That’s where we broke down and lost the game.”
In the final quarter, M-A pulled ahead with two more goals, compared to Paly’s one, ending the game 11-10 for M-A.
According to Shelton, Paly lacked energy in the second half of the game.
“Second half was just kind of playing catch-up, not necessarily with the score but with random swings of energy,” Shelton said. “They definitely took it from us and we were just clawing our way back.”
Previously, Paly had beaten M-A on two separate occasions throughout the season, and both Gans and Shelton attributed this game’s loss to inadequate execution.
“We just had a couple of problems executing at the end,” Shelton said. “Everyone in this game had issues with consistency.”
Had it not been for lack of consistency, Gans said he feels that the team certainly had the strength to win the game.
“Everybody played really hard,” Gans said. “It wasn’t a lack of effort, it was just a lack of execution. We could’ve won that game.”
The loss marks the end of the Vikings’ season, a disappointment for the team, according to Gans.
“It’s really tough,” Gans said. “It was really disappointing. … I would’ve loved to have played in the championship.”
Shelton said the loss was not a result of any individual team member.
“This isn’t a game about individuals,” Shelton said. “You win as a team and you lose as a team.”