Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Ready for Strong Seasons

Lady Mats attacker, Maddie Geary 15, sprints towards the goal.

C. Furtado

Lady Mat’s attacker, Maddie Geary ’15, sprints towards the goal.

Kaitlin Fenn, Sport Editor

The Men’s Lacrosse team lost a heartbreaker to St. Mary’s Stockton, 7-6, in the first round of the North Coast Section playoffs last year that ended its 2014 season. This year, the Mats used their desire for revenge to fuel a 6-3 win over the Rams last Friday and start the season off 1-0.

The team continued its “revenge tour” with an exciting 5-4 overtime upset of Cal High on Tuesday, Feb. 3. Co-captain Sam Essabhoy ‘15 scored the deciding goal two minutes into the overtime period, and the team held of the Ram’s attack for long enough to seal the win.

“It was great [scoring the goal],” Essabhoy said. “It was a hard fought win against a good team. Our defense played a great game and we look forward to taking on Lincoln of Stockton on Friday night.”

The “revenge tour,” as it has been dubbed, is the team’s goal to avenge last season’s losses to various teams. “We put the names up of all the teams we lost to last year that we are playing this year,” midfielder and co-captain Sam Tuttle ‘15 said. “When we beat one of those teams we cross their name off of the board.”

So far, the team is two for two after beating St. Mary’s and Cal High, and next up on the list is Campolindo, who the Mats lost to once and beat once last season.
The Mats are off to a great start, and with a new head coach at the helm this year, John Hofinga, they have been less focused on the conditioning aspect of lacrosse like last season and more focused on playing the game. Despite a change in the amount of conditioning, Tuttle says their playing style is still the same: physical and fast.

In addition to the coaching changes, the Mats lost a talented group of seven seniors to graduation last year. “‘It’s been a tough adjustment [having lost] a lot of senior leadership last year, but everyone has stepped up and that’s really been the key so far this season,” Tuttle said. “Our team chemistry is great and we have a lot of great guys on our team which makes it a lot of fun too.”

This year’s group of captains, Essabhoy, Tuttle, Joshua Chen ‘15, and Spencer Hardwick ‘15 are determined to be the new leaders and improve upon last year’s record of 9-9 overall and 7-5 in league. The team has also set a few other goals for the 2015 season, including winning league and making a run deep into the North Coast Section Playoffs. But that is not all. “We also want to become better lacrosse players and people as the season goes on,” Tuttle said.

Come support Mats Lacrosse this Friday at their next game against Lincoln of Stockton at home at 7:30 pm.

Now to the Lady Mats. One of the team’s coaches from last year, Devon Combe, is returning this season, along with new coach Jackie Pelletier. The girls finished the 2014 season with a loss to Piedmont in the semifinals of NCS and graduated a solid group of four seniors. However, the team picked up four skilled freshmen to fill in the holes, and is beginning to find its chemistry.

“It is always difficult to figure out other people’s playing habits, but the more time we spend with each other on the field, the more we click,” co-captain Caroline Tague ‘15 said. The other captains alongside Tague are Lauren Foster ‘15, Maddie Geary ‘15, Mia Harnett ‘15, and Kaitlin Fenn ‘15.

The Lady Mats had their first scrimmages on Saturday, Feb. 21 when they competed in the Davis Play Day tournament. They won one out of the four scrimmages, and while these scrimmages do not go on its official record, Tuesday night’s game against Monte Vista does. The team was down early, and despite battling back from a double digit deficit late in the second half, it could not overtake a skilled Monte Vista team and lost 19-12.

“We started off slowly, but we held our own in the second half which is a promising sign,” Tague said. “We were able to use halftime to discuss some problems and adapt accordingly.”
Foster, a defensive leader, said, “There were a lot of nerves because it was the first game of the season, so we weren’t playing our best in the beginning. I think our defense played well overall, however there is definitely room for improvement. If we make the adjustments, like communicating more and being aggressive, it will make the unit more solid going forward.”

Despite this early loss, the girls’ sights are still set on competing in the NCS championship this year. “I think our team has a lot of potential and if we capitalize on that we have the opportunity to go very far,” Tague said.

In addition, after coming just one goal shy of beating Acalanes in double overtime last year, the Lady Mats have set another goal: to take down the Dons. Acalanes has consistently been a top team in the DFAL, winning league for the past six years since the last time Miramonte won the title, and beat Piedmont in the NCS championship last season. But the Lady Mats feel this is their year to break the norm. “I think we have a really good chance of beating [Acalanes] if we work hard all season and fill in the cracks we have now,” Foster said.

The Lady Mats next game is an away non-conference game this Friday, March 6 at Redwood.