With only a little more than a week left in the regular season, league races, playoff seedings and even playoff berths are in play all over the L.A. lacrosse landscape. Here’s a look at a couple of Wednesday games that either answered some questions or generated a few more.
No. 7 Harvard Westlake 16, No. 8 Oak Park 12
The Wolverines (9-5) bolstered their playoff resume and made a case for a top-eight seed — and a first-round home game — by bursting out of the starting gate, racing to an 8-0 lead almost before Oak Park (8-7) knew what hit it, then running out the clock while keeping the Eagles at a safe distance.
Roman Holthouse (pictured, above) scored seven goals, six before visiting Oak Park got on the board. Owen Consoletti led the Eagles (8-7) with six goals, including one with 6:32 to play that pulled Oak Park within 15-11, but Aaron Drooks scored for Harvard Westlake to make it 16-11, and the Wolverines held possession until the closing seconds, when Consoletti scored his sixth.
Harvard Westlake still has two Mission League games to play — including Saturday at Crespi, which will determine the league’s second-place finisher — as well as a home game Tuesday against Corona del Mar, the No. 2 team in the O.C. behind Foothill. But even a worst-case three-loss finish should leave the Wolverines in position to host a playoff game May 5.
Oak Park finishes up Monday at home against Oaks Christian. Earlier wins over Newbury Park and Redondo Union could be enough to earn the Eagles the No. 8 seed in the playoffs and a home game, but that might depend how Newbury, Mira Costa and Redondo finish up.
No. 2 Palos Verdes beat No. 10 Mira Costa 11-2 Wednesday, getting three goals from Aidan Westley and two each from Jack Larkin and Stanton Gilbertson. The Sea Kings (10-5, 3-1 Bay) still are in the hunt for the league title and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The latter likely will be determined Monday, when current No. 1 Loyola visits for a nonleague clash of the titans. The Bay title likely will be decided Wednesday, when No. 3 Peninsula visits.
The Panthers (13-1, 3-0) maintained their hold on the league with an 11-4 win over Redondo on Wednesday. They have now won six in a row and embark on their second trip around the league Friday with a visit from Mira Costa.
No. 4 Westlake remained undefeated Wednesday, beating No. 9 Newbury Park 10-6. The only thing standing between the Warriors (12-0, 6-0) and the Marmonte League title is No. 6 Thousand Oaks. The teams meet Tuesday at T.O.
Wednesday’s win at Newbury, though, had a familiar look — the Warriors trailed most of the game, then flipped a switch late in the third quarter and went on to win by a comfortable margin. Newbury led 5-4 at halftime and 6-5 with three minutes left in the third, but the Warriors turned it on and won by four. Westlake did the same thing against Thousand Oaks on April 1. And in its first meeting with Newbury on March 25, Westlake led only 6-4 after three quarters but went on to win 11-5. Will the Warriors eventually run into an opponent against whom they can’t flip that switch?
For Thousand Oaks, that loss to Westlake might have been a blessing. The Lancers had struggled to an OT win at Agoura, then lost at home to Harvard Westlake before surrendering a 9-5 lead at Westlake at losing 14-9. Since then, though, they haven’t lost, winning five in a row.
Wednesday, T.O. handled Agoura at home 11-5, leading 3-1 after one quarter and 8-3 at halftime. The Lancers (10-3, 5-1) play at Oaks Christian on Friday before gearing up for Tuesday’s showdown with Westlake and a season-finale at Newbury Park on Friday, May 1.
No. 20 El Segundo won 10-5 at Santa Monica to stay unbeaten in league play. The Eagles have games at Downey and at home against Beverly Hills before visiting Culver City on May 1 for the regular-season finale — a game that likely will determine the league title.
El Segundo (9-4, 5-0) beat Culver City (6-8, 5-1) the first time they played and can clinch the title with another win. The Centaurs (6-8, 5-1) beat Downey 13-5 on Wednesday and play at Beverly Hills on Friday and home against No. 5 Crespi next Tuesday before the showdown with El Segundo.