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June 2, 2023
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Despite playoff loss, Los Gatos High girls lacrosse has become one of section’s most consistent programs

When the Los Gatos High girls lacrosse team took a five-goal lead four minutes into the second half, it seemed all but certain the Wildcats were going to advance to the Central Coast Section playoff semifinals. 

St. Francis had other ideas. The No. 5 seed Lancers outplayed No. 4 Los Gatos down the stretch en route to a 14-13 victory on May 12. The Wildcats, who were looking to advance to the semifinals for the second year in a row, finished the season 16-3. 

Los Gatos seemingly was in command after scoring the first three goals coming out of halftime, from Scarlett Roberts, Sam Elliott and Keira Dodd. That padded the Wildcats’ advantage to 11-6 with 20 minutes, 44 seconds remaining, but St. Francis scored with 15:55 left to break a long 11 minute scoring drought, the start of a game-ending 8-2 run, including a shot as time expired to win it. 

“Once the momentum was lost, we got a little bit down,” Wildcats coach Tes Hayton said. “I just think they got shaken up a little bit with the momentum. They got a little bit flustered, unfortunately forcing a little bit. But I’m still proud of the girls. As long as they put 150 percent on the field, I’m happy, and I thought they really did that.”

Los Gatos beat St. Francis 13-11 in a non-league match on April 13, but it couldn’t close the deal again after an accumulation of yellow cards resulted in the Wildcats having to play a man down for the final 7:39 of the match. 

Even though the Wildcats had played well short-handed up to that point—they scored twice a man down bridging the first and second halves—it was simply asking too much to hold a strong team like St. Francis down for a sustained period. 

In the final 7:39, Los Gatos’ usual crisp passing and catching dropped a level. Even then, it looked as if it was going to be anybody’s ballgame until the very end. St. Francis retrieved possession deep on its end of the field with approximately 10 seconds left. 

Somehow, it got the ball down the field just in time to unleash a shot from the left side of the arc and score just before the final horn sounded. Just like that, Los Gatos’ season was over. Seven different players scored for Los Gatos, highlighting the team’s talent and depth. 

Alex Evans is a maestro with the stick and one of the best players in the CCS in keeping possession. Evans uses her body as a shield to keep defenders at bay and did just that late in the game, resulting in a pass that led to Brooke Hanson’s goal which gave the team a 12-11 lead with 4:08 to go. 

Dodd had a team-high three goals, while Elliott, Jackie Enns and Macy Dennon had two goals each. All of those players along with Lauren Fried and Evans have been stalwarts in the program, which has been on its most successful run in program history. 

One of the biggest highlights to come out of this season was the emergence of junior goalie Kate Braidish, who only started playing the position at the end of the 2022 season on the junior varsity squad, no less. Braidish made several quality saves and showed why the Wildcats will be strong at the position for next year. 

Although Los Gatos will graduate several outstanding seniors, it has plenty of returners coming back for 2024, including Braidish, Roberts, Hanson, Macy Dennon, Elodie Douglas, Agata Fin, Julia Kennedy, Teagan Fogerty and Aubey Salud, along with the usual group of incoming talent from the JV team and other newcomers. 

Hayton said she was proud of what the team accomplished this season, which included a second straight undefeated Santa Clara Valley Athletic League championship in which it had a double-digit average margin of victory. The program will celebrate with an end of the season event. 

“We’re going to do a fun field day with both teams,” Hayton said. “Now that we’re finished we don’t have to work hard, we can just play hard now. We’ve done the working hard part and now it’s time to play hard. Congratulate the seniors, send them off to their colleges and have talks on how we can resume again next year.”

The Los Gatos High girls lacrosse team celebrates a goal during their match vs. St. Francis. Photo by the Natividad family.
Jackie Enns goes on the attack in the Wildcats’ CCS playoff quarterfinal match vs. St. Francis. Photo by the Natividad family.
Emanuel Lee
Emanuel Lee is the sports editor of the Los Gatan, Gilroy Dispatch, Hollister Free Lance and Morgan Hill Times. An American High and University of Kentucky alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Gavilan College, various youth sports in south Santa Clara/San Benito counties and pro sports on occasion. Two decades of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. With the Weeklys/NewSVMedia group since 2013. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40 (7:24 mile pace), counts himself as a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza. Coaches, athletic directors and parents are encouraged to report scores to [email protected].


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