The Palo Alto High School boys’ lacrosse team (5-2, 0-0) snatched a win, 12-6, against rival Los Gatos High School (1-3, 0-0) on Thursday at the Palo Alto High School field.
The Vikings displayed a strong performance in the second half despite a sluggish start. Both teams were tied, 4-4, after the first quarter.
According to head coach DJ Shelton, the team was able to pick up the pace after the first quarter.
“We came out really flat in the first quarter energy wise, missing ground balls,” Shelton said. “I think we got only open field ground ball, but then we answered in the last three quarters of the game.”
The Vikings outscored the Wildcats 8-2 in the last three quarters.
Freshman attacker Patrick McIntosh, who scored one goal and fed two assists, said the team felt compelled to take charge.
“We decided as a team we were done getting pushed around by the other team, and we wanted to come out and win this game,” McIntosh said.
Multiple players exhibited solid performances, including McIntosh, senior attacker Matthew Seligson with three goals and five assists and junior midfielder Hayden Libbey with two goals, as well as others.
“[Senior] Charles Stephenson did really great on the faceoffs, [senior] Q Valenti was amazing between the pipes and our studs on the attack and midfield,” Shelton said. “Hayden played well; we had guys all over the field.”
Nevertheless, the win was a joint effort, according to Shelton.
“The game ball was a team win,” Shelton said. “It wasn’t one player, and everyone had a part. There wasn’t one guy that just stepped out. It was a very well balanced game. For a coach, to have a team win is the best thing ever.”
The Vikings worked on several aspects of their game and made amends to their tactics in preparation for the game after losing their last game to University High School, 12-10, according to Shelton.
“We just focused a lot on groundballs, because that is kind of what lost us the game against University,” Shelton said. “We also need some personnel changes, we need to be a little more dynamic from the midfield, so we moved some of our better ball handlers up there and we just moved guys around to exploit matchups. We stopped being one dimensional and mixed things up to see what it would do for us, and it clearly worked.”
According to Libbey, the win left a satisfactory taste for the team.
“It feels great to come back and win against the team we beat in the championship last season,” Libbey said.
Shelton also expressed his enthusiasm on the win against the Wildcats.
“There’s nothing better than beating the team that you beat in the championship last year,” Shelton said. “We answered the challenge.”
The Vikings play their next game against Sacred Heart Preparatory School (1-1) at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Sacred Heart.
According to Libbey, the team is confident going into the matchup.
“We’re playing SHP next game, so it’s going to be a challenge, but we if we play our game and stick to our fundamentals, we are going to win,” Libbey said. “We lost to them in the preseason game, but we are better now than we were at that point of the season.”
Shelton says if the team plays the way it did against the Wildcats, Paly has a good chance of beating Sacred Heart.
“We have Sacred Heart on Saturday morning, and we’re really looking to doing what we did tonight,” Shelton said. “They are a similar team, athletic, fast, well coached. I don’t think we need to change anything. If we stick to the game plan, we’ll see where we can get the matchups.”