Sam Elliott, Maia Bernholz and Keira Dodd go on the attack in the team’s 20-9 win over Menlo-Atherton on March 3. The Wildcats entered this week's play with a 5-1 record which included a 13-11 victory over St. Francis on March 13. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.

Talented, deep and with plenty of experience, the Los Gatos High girls lacrosse team is off to another fast start this season.  

That should come as no surprise given the Wildcats advanced to the Central Coast Section playoff semifinals last year where they lost to Sacred Heart Prep, 14-9. The question is, has Los Gatos closed the gap between it and SHP and defending champion St. Ignatius, who were far and away the two best teams in the section last year?

“That’s the big question,” Wildcats coach Tes Hayton said. “From year to year we’ve seen ebbs and flows. Sacred Heart, I’m going for St. Ignatius now. I want to win. What’s the point otherwise? That’s what we’re working on [to be the top team].” 

The Wildcats earned a huge 13-11 non-league win over St. Francis of Mountain View on March 13 only to suffer disappointment four days later, absorbing a tough 19-18 loss to an upstart Scotts Valley squad. 

But the win over St. Francis could very well play a factor for seeding position in the CCS playoffs in May. The Lancers always field a top-notch team and Los Gatos needed to be pushed given it won its first four games by double-digit margins. 

Jackie Enns continued her spectacular play, finishing with six goals. Keira Dodd had three goals and Alex Evans, Scarlett Roberts and Lauren Fried had one score each for the Wildcats, who never trailed in the match. 

The Triple E’s—Enns, Evans and Elliott—have been terrific all season. Enns and Evans take the faceoffs and oftentimes win them, which immediately leads to a goal or high-percentage scoring opportunity. 

Elliott excels at possessing the ball behind the opposing goal and unleashing wraparound shots or passes that lead to goals. Enns and Evans consistently are able to attack a defense with their speed and get into the arc to get shots off. 

They also have the unique ability to shield defenders with their bodies, allowing them to keep possession for long periods of time. Enns leads the team in goals and assists, the constant playmaker who can do it all. 

As proof, Enns also ranks among the leaders on the team in takeaways, along with Tessa Dennon and Dodd, who has committed to play at St. Lawrence University in New York, which competes at the NCAA Division III level for lacrosse. 

Against St. Francis, Enns and Evans drew several fouls inside the critical scoring area, resulting in the team attempting just under 20 free position shots. The Wildcats got off to a quick 3-0 lead only to see the Lancers answer with three goals of their own. 

The teams were tied at 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5 until Dodd put the team ahead for good. The senior ran for 25 yards through the heart of the St. Francis defense before unleashing a shot from close range to make it 6-5 with 5 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first half. 

A little over two minutes later, Enns scored after Los Gatos strung together a half-dozen passes around the 8-meter arc. Hayton said the team has been working on its transitions and changing up defenses, which is normal early in the season. 

Because the Wildcats are unlikely to receive any resistance in league play, Dennon said it’s important to schedule non-league matches with top teams like St. Francis and Scotts Valley and Mitty, the latter which they’ll be playing on March 31. 

“We need that competition if we’re going to take CCS,” she said. 

Outside of the players already mentioned, the team has plenty of quality athletes including Teagan Fogerty, Jiwoo Hong, Elodie Douglas, Aubrey Salud, Agata Fin, Macy Dennon and goalie Kate Braidish, who made some key saves against the potent St. Francis attack. 

Hayton said she has been pleased with the team’s on-field chemistry, noting how things tend to be smooth when substitutions are made. 

“I’m very proud of the cohesion of the whole team,” she said. “Not just the girls on the field, but the girls off the field. Switching and subbing in and out, they are able to cohesively play well together. It’s not a little group of girls that play well together, it’s the whole team. If we can keep that up and keep the momentum going with that, I don’t think we’ll have any problems [reaching our goals].”

Hayton loves coaching the team and has added enjoyment in that both of her kids are playing the sport at Los Gatos. Her son, Aydan Celinski, and daughter Avelene Celinski, are on their respective varsity teams.

Keira Dodd has been a key player for the Wildcats, who entered the week with a 5-1 record. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.
Lacrosse is a family affair for Los Gatos girls coach Tes Hayton. Her son, Aydan Celinski, and daughter Avelene Celinski, play on their respective varsity squads.


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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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