Paly boys’ lacrosse trumps the Titans 13-3 after a slow first half

Gracie Marshall, Managing Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

The Palo Alto High School boys’ lacrosse team  (9-3, 4-2) defeated cross-town rival Gunn High School (5-6, 4-4) 13-3 at Gunn on Monday evening. Leading by just one at the half, the Vikings scored eight goals in the second half, resulting in a 13-3 victory.

“A typical game against Gunn, we come out kind of lazy and Gunn takes it to us,” head coach Chris Conover said. “But I gave [the team] a little talking to at halftime and basically said ‘wake up, we are a better team, we need to put the goals in’ and we did.”

Paly led off the game with the first goal from attack Bryan Keohane (’11) and the assist from midfielder Kevin Proceviat (’11).

The Vikings continued to maintain possession of the ball in their offensive half until Titan attacker Marcus Cassidy (’11) put away a goal off of Ryan Griffith’s (’11) pass halfway through the first quarter. The Titans’ ball control from that point on coupled with four saves from goalie Brent Paulson (’11) kept the score tied 1-1 at the end of the quarter.

The Titans continued to keep the score close in the second quarter. Paly went ahead by two with goals scored by midfielder Matt Lam (’12) and Proceviat. Gunn answered the call with two of their own to tie the game at 3-3. Directly after, attack Cory Valenti (’11) scored off of an assist from Proceviat to give the Vikings a 4-3 lead ending the half.

Keohane attributes the close first half to a lack of aggression on Paly’s end.

“At first they were hitting harder than us,” Keohane said. “Until we decided to light a fire underneath their ass and decided to hit them just as hard if not harder.”

And the Vikings did just that. At the start of the third quarter, midfielder John Brunnet (’11) won the face off, ran the ball down the field and passed to midfielder Walker Mees (’13) who put away a goal. The Vikings scored two more back to back goals to increase their lead to four. Later in the third quarter, defender Michael Cullen (’11) stripped the ball from a Gunn attacker, ran the ball to Paly’s offensive third where he laid the ball off to midfielder Zach Spain (’11). Spain scored to put Paly ahead 8-3. Attack Jonny Glazier (’13) scored off of a Mees’s  assist, resulting in a six point margin at the end of the third quarter.

The Vikings continued to shut down the Titan offense in the final quarter with strong defensive play by Cooper Levitan (’11) and hard hits, notably from defender Dustin Nizamiann (’11). However, players and coaches feel that they were unable to play as aggressively as they would have desired because of strict officiating.

“Many of us have a history with one of [the referees], and they made some crazy calls,” Conover said. ” They called it like a U15 game.  Refs are like the weather, you’ve got to play the refs that day and we adjusted a bit but you can’t anticipate when they make calls for ridiculous reasons.”

The Vikings adjusted well, adding four more goals to their total in the fourth quarter to end the game with a final score of 13-3. The Titans did not score once in the second half, thanks to the Vikings’ tight defense and the offense’s ability to keep the ball in Paly’s offensive half for the majority of the game.

“We started slow in the first half just like we did last year but our offense was able to turn it on,” Levitan said. “Cory [Valenti] had a great night, Bryan [Keohane] had a great night, a lot of guys on offense turned it on. Defense was great, lots of take-aways tonight so hopefully we should be able to carry this through the week. We’ve got Saratoga on Wednesday and Menlo Atherton on Friday, two big league games, so hopefully we can reclaim the top spot.”

Conover agrees, adding that the Viking’s need to finish the regular season strongly in order to obtain a high seed for the post-season.

“We cannot lose another game this season,” Conover said.” we gotta retain our home field and first round by in the playoffs. We gotta beat all the rest of the teams, we have a bunch of league games and we will prepare appropriately.”

The Vikings’ next game is against Saratoga on Wednesday at Paly at 7:00 p.m..