A long-time rivalry between Henry M. Gunn High School and Palo Alto High School is well known to all; however, the intense rivalry between Paly and Los Gatos High School is lesser known by most. After their last 17-4 League win against Los Altos High School, the Paly boys lacrosse team lost 5-6 in overtime to Los Gatos on April 21.
“We beat [Los Gatos] already this season because we played one of our best games of lacrosse against them –– we beat them 12 to 6 –– and we play them again on April 21 at Los Gatos,” junior Yusuf Rizk said. “After that we have the rivalry game with Gunn, but Gunn’s program isn’t really strong so we can expect a win out of that.”
The boys came back after their loss to Los Gatos and beat Gunn 14-1 on April 22. In their latest non-league game against Serra High School. The boys lost 5-11.
“This was one of the games that our coach warned us about, [telling us] how one-dimensional our team is in the way that we rely on our three attackmen to score all of our goals,” Rizk said. “This game they shut off our attack and our midfielders weren’t able to do anything.”
The team has displayed talent and tenacity this season; however, they are always looking to improve. The main focus for the team is developing more depth of talent.
Currently they rely almost entirely on their attackmen; a good team is able to rely on more than just the offensive players to score.
Unfortunately, the team did not have practice over spring break, slowing their progression towards their goal.
“If we had practiced over spring break we would be in better shape, but then again, we did have a really good week of practice coming up to [the Serra] game,” Rizk said. “Of course more preparation always helps, but I’m not sure if it would have been enough to take down Serra.”
The boys only have two remaining home games, against Mountain View High School and Saint Francis High School. The upcoming loss of the home field advantage appears likely to affect the team’s performance.
“We’re definitely stronger at home just because of course we have our own crowd and are used to our own field and then we don’t have to go on the bus or leave school early,” Rizk said. “So definitely home field advantage helps us a lot.”
Even with the loss of this advantage, the team is confident in their ability to play a strong game as a team. The boys are a tight knit group, allowing them to work together well.
“We’re hearing from our coaches and our seniors that at this point in the season we’re a lot more advanced than we were last year,” Rizk said. “You can definitely see the growth from the starters and just the players on the team. Everyone is growing and getting better, but then again other teams are getting better too.”
The hardest approaching game for the team is against Saint Francis on April 30.