After losing in the semifinals of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic (SCVAL) playoffs for the last two years, the Paly boys’ lacrosse team looks to bounce back and win the championship this season, according to head coach Craig Conover.
“We’ve lost the last two times but I can feel that this year is different,” Conover said. “So far, the team chemistry is great and we’re striving to be better than we were the previous years.”
The team is using their loss in a thriller last year to Menlo-Atherton High School as motivation for this upcoming season.
“Even though I didn’t actually play in the game, I could tell that this one hurt the team,” junior midfielder Zach Rizk said. “The guys played their hearts out, a few calls didn’t go our way and we came up just a bit short. It was tough but I think [that game] will help fuel us to reach our goal of a league championship this year, lets hope that the third time’s the charm.”
This year’s captains have voiced similar goals for the time and are duly impressed with the way the season has began. “We held preseason workouts for the first time ever this year,” senior captain Walker Mees said. “We had a larger than expected turnout and we’re hoping to keep out the hard work.”
Mees also expressed his views regarding the loss of key players who have graduated and how the underclassmen have been in replacing them on the team.
“We lost our main face-off guy and our main goal scorer this year,” Mees said. “As as a team we feel that the new juniors and even the underclassmen are going to step up and have a positive effect.”
Junior and second captain James Harrison still has some reservations regarding the team chemistry thus far into the season.
“So far [the team chemistry] has been alright,” Harrison said. “It’s only been a week and so everyone is not on the same page but I think we’ll get there soon.”
With regards to the new juniors and underclassmen on the team, Harrison is optimistic of the potential they could have on the team.
“There are many good lacrosse players out there,” Harrison said. “I think they will be good contributors to the team.”
Some of the newer players on varsity simply cannot wait to get on the field and play, being ready at a moments notice to help the team in any way they can.
“Right now I’m not expecting to get a lot of playing time,” freshman Matt Seligson said. “So far [the varsity team] is great, it’s nice to go out there and play on that level. I’m hoping to learn a lot this season and gain experience from the guys and follow the direction of our awesome captains.”
Nonetheless, the Vikings do have a few setbacks with junior defensemen JP Flather out with a meniscus tear for sixth months. Flather has been on varsity ever since freshman year and is a vital player for the team.
“I’m bummed that [Flather] is out,” Conover said. “He was key to our whole plan.”
Flather intends to stay involved with the team and make a strong comeback next season.
“I’m hoping to return for next season,” Flather said. “I’ll probably help out with a few practices here and there but nothing serious.”
The Vikings begin their regular season on the road at Carmel High School which will take place on Saturday, March 2.