Thursday, for the first time in a month, No. 19 Peninsula fielded the lineup it had expected to field all season, finally getting key players back from injury and overwhelming host Viewpoint 18-6.
The win was only the third of the season for the Panthers, who had opened the season No. 8 in the US Lacrosse/MaxLaxLA coaches poll and were expecting to compete for a playoff spot. But injuries to senior attack Kyle Beachboard and senior do-it-all long-stick middie Scott Phillips in the season’s second game derailed those plans.
Phillips missed four games, and Beachboard missed seven. The result was seven losses in eight games after a season-opening victory. Until Thursday, when Beachboard finally returned to the lineup.
With its lineup intact, Peninsula (3-7) was in sync from the opening whistle, jumping out to a 7-1 lead after the first quarter. The offense continued to roll in the second period, and goalie Matt Choi and the Panthers defense shut down the Patriots, helping Pen take a 14-1 lead into halftime.
Matt Chan did a spectacular job at the face-off dot, helping the Panthers win twice as many as they lost and keying the offensive explosion.
Junior attackman Ethan Burrage had a breakthrough game, showing great stick skills, quick moves and notching a career-high six goals. Phillips wasn’t far behind, scoring five goals while picking up a game-high 12 ground balls. Bryce Kitagawa and Nicco Rosato each scored three goals, and AJ Rosato scored one.
Beachboard, the team’s leading scorer in 2016, led the team in assists.
Next up for the Panthers is a home game against Servite (Anaheim) on Saturday (noon), followed by home games against No. 15 Sierra Canyon, Redondo Union and St. John Bosco, then the Bay League tournament.
Information and photo provided by Peninsula lacrosse.