The Los Gatos High boys lacrosse team celebrate after posting a 12-10 win over Palo Alto High in the Central Coast Section Division II championship match on May 18 at Carlmont High in Belmont. Photo by Kerstin Goguen.

The Los Gatos High School boys lacrosse team wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders entering the Central Coast Section playoffs. 

The Wildcats lost two of their final three regular season contests, including one to Carmel High School for the Pacific Coast Athletic League’s second automatic CCS playoff berth.

“We kind of limped into the playoffs,” Wildcats coach Chris Nespor said.

But once Nespor saw the playoff bracket come out, he knew the team had a golden opportunity to win a section championship. That’s because Los Gatos—which earned an at-large berth—had already owned wins over four of the seven other teams in the Division II field. 

After earning the top seed in Division II, the Wildcats proved they were the class of the field with a 12-10 win over No. 2 seed Palo Alto High School in the championship match on May 18 at Carlmont High School in Belmont. Jack Baldwin scored four goals, Luke Goddard and Zach Gouldrup had three goals apiece and Cullen Wood finished with two scores to help clinch Los Gatos’ first title in program history. 

“The team came out on fire,” Nespor said, referring to the Wildcats taking a 6-1 lead after the first quarter. “But as expected in a championship match, Palo Alto punched back and got back in it.”

Palo Alto cut its deficit to 8-4 at halftime and eventually got within two goals, but never closer. 

“They continued to decrease the gap as the game went on, but we did a good job of staving off many of their runs,” Nespor said. “We would score a big goal or get a key stop on defense to keep them at bay.”

Sophomore Zach Otoupal, the two-time PCAL Gabilan Division Defensive Player of the Year, collected 13 ground balls and added two assists, while junior goalie Carter Paradice had 11 saves. Nespor praised the two defensive stalwarts while also giving credit to a couple of other players who played vital roles in the win. 

“Jack Donovan was a spark plug, energy guy for us, good on the ground balls and super strong on the defensive end,” Nespor said. “He produces many plays that aren’t seen in the stat box but 100% seen by the coaching staff.”

The latter also applies to junior Luis Coderque-Ferrer, who handles the majority of the team’s faceoffs.

“Luis took all but two of our faceoffs today, and I felt like we had the advantage,” Nespor said. Alongside contributions from the wingers, Coderque-Ferrer’s performance was key to the Wildcats setting the tone early in the game, he said.

This season, Baldwin, Otoupal and Paradice earned PCAL Gabilan Division first team honors, while Donovan, Goddard and sophomores Jack Harrington and Ben Reilly made second team all league. Coderque-Ferrer received a spot on the all sportsmanship team. 

For Nespor, this was his sixth and final season coaching the Los Gatos boys lacrosse team. He’ll be taking a job at his alma mater, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he was inducted into the school’s Lacrosse Hall of Fame, in 2020.

“The last six years, I couldn’t ask for anything more in terms of support from the parents and the school,” he said. “Obviously, it’s special to end the season on a win, especially for our seniors. To go out by doing something that’s never happened before in Los Gatos lacrosse history is a pretty big deal. And for this being my last year, it’s pretty cool to go out on top.”

Nespor departs leaving the program in excellent shape, as Los Gatos is projected to return a half-dozen starters from this year’s team for the 2025 season. 

“Our sophomore and junior classes are super strong groups,” Nespor said. “We’re excited about our freshmen, too. That speaks to the future of this program and where it’s headed.”

Track and Field

The Los Gatos High girls 4×400 meter relay team highlighted the Wildcats’ performance in the CCS Championships on May 18 at Gilroy High School. 

The team of Vanessa Leathem, Shea Elmore, Madison Kohli and Elise Greenstreet cruised—check that, blazed—to the finish in a personal-record (PR) of 3 minutes, 54.05 seconds.

They won by more than three seconds, a rather comfortable margin in a 4×400 relay. 

The top three finishers in each event, along with anyone who hits a State meet at-large standard, advances to the CIF State Championships, May 24-25 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis.

Kohli, the freshman sensation, also took third in the open 400 meters to qualify for State in that event. 

She nailed a PR of 55.99 seconds, her second lifetime best in as many weeks. In the CCS Semis a week earlier, Kohli finished in 56.16 seconds. Junior Nicole Steiner finished second in the shot put with a mark of 41 feet, 10 ½ inches. 

She also took fifth in the discus with a mark of 114 feet even. Elmore placed seventh in the 800 meter run in PR of 2:15.71. The Los Gatos girls finished seventh in the CCS team standings. Meanwhile, Matt Gladney was the top placer on the boys team, finishing third in the 110 hurdles in 14.62. Aydon Stefanopoulos and Jensen Bidmead finished in sixth- and seventh place, respectively, in the 1,600-meter run.

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Emanuel Lee primarily covers sports for Weeklys/NewSVMedia's Los Gatan publication. Twenty years of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40, counts himself as a true disciple of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza.


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