Boys’ varsity lacrosse loses narrowly to Palo Alto in final home game


Jake Rothstein

Senior Captain Archer Grenier passes the ball to make an attempt on goal.

Coming into their final home league game against PAL Bay No. 4 Palo Alto High School on Monday, May 1, boys’ varsity lacrosse (6-8 overall, 4-5 PAL Bay) looked stronger than ever, sitting second in the standings. 

Riding a three-game win streak coming into the matchup, a win certainly seemed possible for the Panthers, even though they fell to the Vikings 10-6 in their first meeting. However, after a tight rematch, the Panthers ultimately fell to Palo Alto 8-5.

The game started out tense, with senior and University of Detroit, Mercy commit Joey Nawrocki winning the first faceoff. From there, the Panthers and Vikings alternated possession. Burlingame had a few scoring opportunities on goal in the opening minutes but was unable to score. Soon after, the Vikings scored their first of two goals in the first quarter, while the Panthers remained scoreless. 

Burlingame continued to struggle to respond in the second quarter and Palo Alto added another four goals. Nonetheless, senior Hayden Wilson got the Panthers on the board to push the score to 6-1 at the end of the half. Ultimately, Burlingame’s defensive woes were largely a result of the loss of its main goalie, junior Luke Nielsen, who exited the game early after injuring a muscle.

“I think it’s just a pulled muscle that he didn’t lay off of and didn’t let adequately heal,” head coach Logan Brown said. “I talked with him about it over the weekend and [asked] him point blank, ‘Will you be able to handle it in the game?’… [and] he said he was okay.”

Aside from having a less experienced goalie for most of the game, the Panthers also struggled to connect passes, enabling the Vikings to generate fast turnovers. Still, Nawrocki seemed invincible in faceoffs, winning 12 out of 13 in a dominant performance that kept Burlingame’s hopes alive.

In the third quarter, Burlingame’s prospects started to look up. The Vikings’ offensive momentum slowed, and both teams scored only once in the quarter — with Burlingame losing out on a potential second goal due to a close referee call. 

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  • Senior Captain Archer Grenier poses for photos with his family during boys’ lacrosse senior night.

  • Senior Captain Blake Sibley poses for photos with his family during boys’ lacrosse senior night.

  • Senior Luke Newman-Silva fights to reclaim possession while on offense.

But the tide truly turned for Burlingame in the fourth quarter, where they outscored Palo Alto 3-1. And despite losing 8-5, the Panthers felt better ending off the game on a strong note.

“The last goal that Archer scored with like 15 seconds left before the game end[ed] [brought] the emotions up a little bit from a tough loss,” senior and first-year lacrosse player Isaac Chacon said. “I think overall, we played the best game we could and we fell short. It happens.”

The loss moved Burlingame down to No. 4 in the PAL Bay standings, ending the team’s playoff dreams as only the top two teams in the league advance.

While there was some disappointment in the air, there was also a celebration of the seniors’ accomplishments on Monday night. Before the game, the Panthers celebrated their senior night, organized by the team’s parents. The seniors walked down and posed for photos in front of a tunnel of lacrosse sticks formed by the junior varsity boys’ team, varsity girls’ players and underclassmen from their own squad.

“It was awesome,” Chacon said. “I wasn’t expecting all these posters everywhere, all the names. The parents definitely did their thing. The college announcement [for all of the seniors] was really cool and it was nice to feel appreciated like that.”

Although the game was not a picture-perfect senior night victory, in the end, the players made clear how close-knit the team is.

“We are all friends, we’re all super tight-knit and it’s just awesome,” Chacon said. “Win or lose, It’s always fun being on the lacrosse field.”