Senior middies Beau Sabosky and Jake Nolls scored back-to-back goals to open the third quarter Monday, breaking a halftime tie and sparking No. 2 Palos Verdes to a 17-10 win at No. 6 Westlake.
Throughout the first half, the Warriors had refused to let the Sea Kings open up a lead, responding to each Palos Verdes goal with one of their own. The score was tied 4-4, 5-5, 6-6 and 7-7. But PV coach Jimmy Borell said he challenged his seniors at halftime, and they picked it up.
“I put it on our seniors,” Borell said. “This is your team; it’s your communication. Guys like Hart Swan absolutely killed it for us tonight. We threw his big butt up on the wing, and he’s getting tough ground balls and being smart and making plays all over the field. I think he was kind of our energy there in the second half, our spark that got us going.”
Swan finished with five ground balls and junior Neil Randall snagged four, supporting face-off middies Cole Clinton (14 of 17) and Colin Fitt (8 of 11) and keeping the ball in Westlake’s defensive end.
Three PV seniors accounted for six goals and three assists in the second half. Sabosky (3 goals, 1 assist) scored twice in the second half and fed Nolls (4g, 3a) for another. Nolls scored three of his four and had an assist after halftime. And Gage Rowland (2g, 1a) had a goal and an assist in the second half.
“They got more disciplined; we got less disciplined,” Westlake coach Peter Swander said. “Their ability to work as a group and maintain a level of intensity outstripped us in the second half and left us behind. What was it, a 7-7 first half and 10-3 second half?”
Westlake was flagged for five penalties in the third quarter, giving Palos Verdes four extra-man opportunities. The Sea Kings cashed in only two of them, but that helped PV outscore the Warriors 4-1 in the period and build a 12-8 lead heading to the fourth.
The Sea Kings stretched their lead to 15-8 in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Luc Charbonnier (3g, 1a) and freshman Michael Nagy (2g, 2a) scored multiple points for PV, and sophomores Jake Jellison and Birk Swan each scored one. Junior goalie Kyle McCann finished with 10 saves.
“It’s a big project, building a lacrosse culture,” Swander said, “and we’re learning from our betters in that project. So there’s a lot we’re going to work on. There’s a lot we’re going to learn from seeing programs like Oaks Christian and PV.”
Freshman goalie Jackson Hren got the Warriors off to a strong start, stopping three shots on Palos Verdes’ first possession. He finished with nine saves, five in the first half, and that early success keyed Westlake’s strong start. Sophomore Tyler Enderle and senior Seamus O’Brien each scored all three of their goals in the first half. Senior Duke Cohen also scored three goals for the Warriors, and junior Nick Reilly had a goal and two assists.
Borell said he was not surprised at how the closely Warriors played his team in the first half, but he was surprised that it took his guys until halftime to step up to the challenge.
“We saw it on film — flat out, this is a way more athletic team than we are,” Borell said of Westlake. “It is, especially when we are so paper thin right now with our best D middie [Jack Quinn] out and Bradley Sharp injured. It’s like, guys, we can’t play like idiots.
“I know it’s tough when you play a game every other day and have the highs and the lows, but you also have the opportunity to play a game every day, which is fun as hell, so take advantage of it and bring the energy and bring the effort. Play like there’s no tomorrow and have fun with it.”
Palos Verdes (12-3) was playing its fourth game in seven days, three of them on the road against highly ranked opponents. The Sea Kings finish the regular season this week with home games against No. 5 Oak Park on Thursday and San Clemente on Saturday. Then comes the Bay League tournament next week and a likely high seed in the US Lacrosse LA playoffs, which begin May 1.
Westlake (10-3) returns to Marmonte League play with home games this week against No. 18 Thousand Oaks (2-11) on Wednesday and No. 15 Newbury Park (3-8) on Friday.