After a slow start, the Palo Alto High School girls’ lacrosse team (14-4) finished strong for a 10-9 victory at Saint Francis (12-7) to advance to the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League championship.
“At first we were a little slow,” senior midfielder Kristen DeStefano said. “We had to get things together, probably because of the heat.”
However, after falling behind at halftime, Paly took over in the second half.
“That second half was the best we have ever played,” DeStefano said. “We really came together and we had so much momentum.”
Coach Jamie Nesbitt appreciates her team’s ability to stay with it to the end.
“We played really hard, and we didn’t let the amount of time we spent on defense dictate the pace of the game,” Nesbitt said. “We kept up the energy through the end.”
DeStefano believes the ability to win draws played a role in the Vikings’ late success.
“When we had the momentum, we had several 10 second draws in a row that just kept us going,” DeStefano said. “Next game, we want to do that right from the beginning.”
Sophomore midfielder Maya Benatar thinks the team underperformed.
“We have played better,” Benatar said. “I think we are the better team and we didn’t completely show it today. We brought it when we needed to bring it and we took advantage when the momentum switched and that was enough to win.”
Nesbitt thinks the team will perform well on Saturday, when Paly takes on Saratoga in the SCVAL Championship.
“I think there was a lot of emotion associated with this game,” Nesbitt said. “Now we are in this confident space where we know we can take care of it [the game against Saratoga]. We have the advantage going into this next game of having depth on our bench, and the ability to move people around into different positions.”
Benatar also expressed her confidence going into the championship.
“We will bring what we really have to the finals on Saturday and it will be a more controlled win,” Benatar said.
The Vikings will take on Saratoga at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Paly lacrosse field.