After a rough patch in the beginning of the season, the Palo Alto High School boys’ lacrosse team (5-5, 4-2) has rebounded and is in position to clinch a spot in the Santa Clara Athletic League playoffs. The Vikings will play crosstown rival Gunn at 7 p.m. on Friday in their first game back from spring break.
According to junior midfielder Charlie Stephenson, the season began slowly as players adjusted to new dynamics.
“We started off pretty rough just because we weren’t working well together as a team, but our coach has introduced some teamwork into our play,” Stephenson said. “We’ve stepped it up the second half of the season.”
Injuries have hampered the Vikings’ success; leading scorer and senior captain Zach Levitan was unable to play in a few games at the beginning of the season due to a shoulder injury, according to junior attack Matthew Seligson. Despite setbacks, Stephenson said that several players have risen to the occasion and have improved their play over the course of the season.
“I think Owen Staiger’s stepped up as a player and tried to take control of the team,” Stephenson said. “Christian Rider played a key role in our defense, and he’s seen as a leader, even just as a sophomore.”
Stephenson noted that this year’s squad is loaded with naturally athletic players, and that the emphasis for the team is on refining stick skills and improving cohesiveness.
“Our speed is a lot better, our size is good and now we’re working on communication so that’ll be a strong suit,” Stephenson said.
As league play draws to a close, the team hopes to end on a strong note and is looking forward to taking on league rival Los Gatos High School on April 24 at home, according to junior attack Owen Dulik.
“The next [Los Gatos] game is going to be huge,” Dulik said. “They’re [one of] our only league losses this season, and we hate them, so it’s going to be a really big game.”