Boys’ lacrosse thrashes Menlo

Kevin Proceviat ('11) putting the moves on Menlo

Ali Kershner

Kevin Proceviat ('11) putting the moves on Menlo

Sam Greene, Copy Editor

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The Palo Alto High School boys’ lacrosse team enjoyed a stirring 10-8 victory over Menlo School at home Thursday night under the lights.  Coming out strong with a 2-2-2 formation, the Vikings penetrated deep into the Menlo core at high intensity.

Off the faceoff, Paly unleashed a fury of assaults, piecing apart a flat-footed Menlo with its speed.  Receiving a pass from Kevin Proceviat (’11), Paly middy John Brunett (’11) flung the ball into the net, notching up the score 1-0.  Answering the goal, Menlo came from behind Paly’s net to score inside the crease.

For the rest of the quarter, both teams exchanged drives, moving fervently across the half with collected composure.  With the tempo at foot, Paly moved freely about the field, flipping the ball between lines and leaving Menlo players trailing behind.

As play developed, Paly’s undeviating attack through Menlo’s backline met resisting long-poles. The Vikings’ sharp cuts and deceptive pivots lost traction, leaving attacks Cory Valenti (’11) and Zack Spain (’11) flummoxed in the face off the Menlo defense.

Meanwhile, the Knights began to suck up possession. With each drive, they coolly played around the crease, spreading out Paly’s back line and making holes for the offense to fly through. Back to back, they engaged the Vikings’ bastion, wielding their sticks with confidence and flung the sphere past Paly goalie Joshua Chin  (’11).  Grooving three points consecutively into the score board, Menlo flew past Paly marking the score 7-5 at the end of the first of half.

At the faceoff at the beginning of the second half, Brunett dug hard and came up with the ball rocking comfortably in his spoon.  Soaring around the Menlo crease, Brunett developed the play single-handedly, finding a slit to throw through.  Rallying the Vikings behind him, Brunett came back to see the Knights at the center circle for a faceoff.  Among clashing sticks, the ball wobbled out onto the turf where it was picked up by a Menlo defender. Playing around the backline, Menlo attempted to reset the tempo and build play moving forward.  Flying in bat-crazy, Proceviat intercepted the orb and jetted into the Menlo crease. Slinging it across the meshing of the net, Proceviat left Menlo’s keeper flailing in the empty space that the orb passed through.

John Brunett ('11) at the center circle for a faceoff against Menlo. Photo by Sam Greene.

With the score evened out, both teams stepped it up.  In a mix at the cusp of Menlo territory, both teams laid out hits, fighting relentlessly for control. Knocking down each other, Menlo came up with the ball unbalanced and turned to move up field.  Before getting the opportunity to look up field, Valenti stood firm wielding his club across his chest and delivered a swift blow, send the Knight back to the turf. Adjusting his helmet, Valenti walked off valiantly, understanding the consequences of his flagrant foul. Now a man down, Paly struggled to slow down a fast paced Menlo offense.  Exchanging goals with Paly, Menlo skirted passed once again leaving the score 7-8 in the Knights’ favor going into the fourth quarter.

Echoing across the field, the Paly huddle raised their weapons at the command of defender Michael Cullen (’11).  “You want this?” Cullen roared, fielding a untied response, “Yeah!”

“We really came out in the second half,” Cullen said. “We secured our slide packages and really began to talk to each other.”

Recognizing Menlo’s zone defense, Paly came out with tricks up their sleeves.  Lining up 2-3-1, the Vikings mobilized a passing offense to manipulate the Knights’ slides and create gaps.

Kevin Proceviat ('11) pivots during the hard-fought game against Menlo. Photo by Sam Greene.

“We developed off-the-ball movement and got the ball to key players behind the net,” Spain said.

Putting in middy Walker Mees (’13), the Vikings took steps into Menlo’s ground.  Releasing shots from just outside the crease, first Brunett and then Mees scored, putting the Vikings ahead on the board 9-8.

“This is so wonderful,” Mees said winded on the sidelines. “I am so stoked.”

With 4:45 left to play, Valenti came soaring behind the net to receive a crisp pass.  Rolling around the bar to meet the goalie, Valenti casually tumbled the orb with the flare to the center of the net.

Walking off the field, the Vikings ended the game 10-8 with their heads held high.  They will continue the season Friday against Woodside at 7:00 p.m.

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