Three teams looking to bolster their playoff credentials and one looking to solidify its claim on the No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming US Lacrosse Southern Section L.A. tournament lost on Monday, the first day of what is shaping up as a wild final week of the regular season.
No. 1 Loyola dropped its showdown game at No. 2 Palos Verdes 12-9; and Agoura, Chaminade and Oaks Christian, all on the playoff bubble, lost games that could have gone a long way toward helping their case for a postseason berth. Here’s a quick look at a few of the significant Monday results.
No. 2 Palos Verdes 12, No. 1 Loyola 9
Senior goalie David McCann made 19 saves and Palos Verdes (11-5) rode a 5-2 second-quarter scoring burst to knock off the Cubs (13-3). Aidan Westley scored four goals for the Sea Kings, and Stanton Gilbertson had three. Loyola trailed 10-5 entering the fourth quarter and pulled to within 11-8 with about four minutes left, but PV maintained its cushion and held off the rally.
While many viewed this game as the battle for the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs, both teams still face tough challenges before selection Sunday, and No. 3 Westlake and No. 4 Peninsula are standing by to stake their claims to the top spot should Loyola or PV stumble.
Palos Verdes plays at home against Peninsula on Wednesday. Should the Panthers (14-1, 4-0) beat the Sea Kings a second time and win the Bay League outright, they’d have a good argument for being the No. 1 seed (assuming they also beat No. 11 Redondo on Friday).
Loyola finishes its regular season Friday at home against No. 6 Harvard Westlake (10-5), which has been red-hot on offense of late. Should the Wolverines beat Loyola, the Cubs would carry back-to-back losses into the seeding meeting.
And Westlake (13-0, 7-0) can finish the regular season unbeaten if it handles No. 5 Thousand Oaks on Wednesday and No. 14 Oaks Christian on Friday. A perfect regular-season record while Loyola, PV and Peninsula beat up on each other makes a pretty strong case for No. 1, despite the Warriors’ comparatively low strength-of-schedule ranking (No. 12 among L.A. teams).
No. 7 Crespi 14, No. 13 Agoura 10
The Chargers scored the first goal of the game before falling behind the Celts 6-3 midway through the second quarter, but a four-goal run to close the first half gave Agoura a 7-6 halftime lead. But Crespi responded by scoring the first five goals of the third quarter, then pulling away in the fourth.
Jack Doyle (pictured, above), Sean Friedman, Alex Dixon and Seth Park each scored three goals for Crespi. Marty Shargel led Agoura with three, and Lucas Lagola, Liv Bar and Ricky Warner each scored two. Goalie Jason Pawlak made 12 saves for the Chargers.
No. 9 Newbury Park 8, No. 12 Chaminade 5
The host Eagles were looking for a resume-building win, but Newbury’s defense, anchored by senior goalie Mikey Marinelli, would have none of it. The Panthers (11-4) held Chaminade (8-9) to one goal in the first half and extended their 5-1 halftime lead to 8-3 with about five minutes to play.
It was the fourth loss in the last five games for the Eagles, who finish their regular season at Marina (Huntington Beach) on Friday. Newbury, which has won four of its last five (including three against playoff bubble teams), plays at Calabasas on Wednesday and is home to Thousand Oaks on Friday.
No. 8 Oak Park 12, No. 14 Oaks Christian 7
The visiting Lions played like a team desperately seeking a resume-boosting victory, battling the Eagles to a 5-5 halftime tie and staying within 9-7 early in the fourth quarter, but Oak Park (9-7) pulled away to wrap up its regular season with a win.
Oaks Christian (4-9) has games remaining at home against Agoura and at Westlake and will need at least one win to make any sort of case for a playoff spot.
No. 20 El Segundo 19, Downey 7
It took the Eagles until the second half to start rolling, but ultimately they ran away from the Vikings to remain unbeaten in Ocean League play. Sophomore attack Cory Lund had six goals and six assists for El Segundo (10-4, 6-0), and senior John Lang scoured four. Senior middie Nolan Roles and junior attack Preston Quashnick each scored three.
If El Segundo beats Beverly Hills on Wednesday, it will have a chance to clinch the Ocean League title outright on Friday when it visits Culver City (7-8, 6-1).