Defense Sparks Palos Verdes to 15-7 Win Over Oak Park

Nine players scored goals for Palos Verdes on Thursday, but the story of the Sea Kings’ 15-7 win over No. 8 Oak Park — and something that is becoming a recurring theme — was the PV defense.

The Sea Kings (8-2) jumped out to a 4-1 lead after one quarter and stretched it to 9-2 by halftime. Scores like that are nothing new for Palos Verdes, but Oak Park (6-5) lives on its offense, averaging nearly 13 goals per game. PV, though, allows fewer than 7 goals per game (6.89). In three games against Oak Park in the last 12 months — including last May’s L.A. championship game (pictured above) — Palos Verdes has allowed a total of 22 goals.

“Our defense is really starting to mesh,” coach Jimmy Borell said via text message. He noted goalie David McCann‘s 14 saves against the Eagles but also junior defender Jarrett Jones‘ 12 groundballs and six caused turnovers.

The Eagles managed to loosen up the Palos Verdes defense in the third quarter, scoring four times, but PV still led 13-6 entering the final 12 minutes.

Stanny Gilbertson and Rizal Smith scored three goals each for the Sea Kings, with Gilbertson adding two assists and Smith one, and Aidan Westley and Austin Lowi scored two goals apiece. Mikey Booth had a goal and three assists, and Jack Larkin, Jake Nolls, Graham Walker and Tucker Frazier each scored once. Westley and Larkin also each had two assists.

Freshman attack Adam Julius scored Oak Park’s first two goals, and Max Bulko, Griffin Hughes, Tanner Ronn, Brendan Egan and Patrick Lasure each scored once in the second half.

Palos Verdes heads south to take on Cathedral Catholic of San Diego on Saturday, then faces Redondo Union for the second time Wednesday in a return to Bay League action. The Sea Kings beat Redondo 12-7 on March 23.

Oak Park is off until Tuesday when it makes a short trip down the hill to take on neighboring Agoura.