The Los Gatos High girls lacrosse team goes through pregame introductions in their non-league home match with Mitty on March 11. The Wildcats lost a close one, 13-12. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.

In the brief three-year history of the Central Coast Section girls lacrosse playoff tournament, Los Gatos High has reached the semifinals twice and the quarterfinal round once.

Simply put, the Wildcats are one of the top programs in the section and coach Tes Hayton is optimistic they can win another league championship. Despite graduating 10 seniors off last year’s team—most of whom either started or played significant minutes—Los Gatos has replenished its roster nicely. 

“This season I’m very happy with the talent we have,” Hayton said. “It’s a very cohesive roster already, and we have quite a bit of talent off the bench, as well.”

The Wildcats opened the season with a riveting 12-11 win over Stevenson on March 4, rallying from a three-goal deficit at the start of the fourth quarter. Scarlett Roberts scored five goals, Brooke Hanson had three goals and Macy Dennon two in leading the way. 

Hayton usually mixes and matches personnel early in the season to find the best lineup for the team and see what works best. Los Gatos trailed Stevenson 9-6 after three quarters, but outscored its opponent 6-2 in the final period for the comeback win. 

“We did a lot of moving around of players to assess where everyone is at,” Hayton said. “And each quarter it changed up a little bit. By the fourth quarter we had locked it in.”

The Wildcats have a potent set of attackers in Roberts, Hanson, Ashley Gold, Maia Bernholz and Alexandra Giddings. Roberts excels in juking defenders in the open field, puts herself in the optimum position to score and has a knack for being able to score. 

Hayton prefers for the team to have balanced scoring, as it often means the team is moving the ball around efficiently.

“We try to spread the scoring and assists out,” she said. “When I see too many goals from one person, it means not everyone is doing their job. On the field at any given moment, there should be seven players that can score, because we have our midfielders going up and on the attack.” 

Some of the key midfielders include Dennon, Aubrey Salud, Julia Kennedy, Wylloh Roberts and Kirra Bannon. Top defenders include Agata Fin, Avelene Celinsky and Teagan Fogerty, who along with Salud earned Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division First Team honors in 2023. 

Stella Boyd and Elodie Douglas provide quality play, as does returning senior goalie Kate Braidish, whose athleticism and instincts in the goal area make her a difference-maker. Braidish had a breakout junior season last year and made a couple of incredible saves in the season-opener. 

“Kate really grew into her role last year and, in fact, grew in that Stevenson game,” Hayton said. “I think our defense wasn’t getting it all together, so a few goals did get through. By the fourth quarter, we got our mojo together and she wasn’t letting anything through.”

Los Gatos has dominated the SCVAL De Anza for the past five years, including undefeated campaigns in the last two seasons. The Wildcats are rarely challenged in De Anza Division play, forcing Hayton to schedule tough non-league opponents like Stevenson, Menlo School and Mitty, so the team can stay sharp. 

The ‘Cats lost to Mitty 13-12 on March 11, dropping their record to 1-1. As usual, the top teams in the section are St. Ignatius and Sacred Heart Prep. The tier below them includes teams such as St. Francis, Mitty and Los Gatos. Hayton is excited about this year’s group and how it has already developed chemistry early in the season. 

“I’ve been blessed with a lot of new talent which is going to give me quite a deep bench and quite a versatile team,” she said. “The upperclassmen are playing all over the field, and I’m moving them around a lot. We’ve got a very athletic team, so I’m very happy.”

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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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