Boys’ lacrosse repeats as Ocean champs

 The boys' lacrosse team won its second straight PAL Ocean Division championship this season.

The boys' lacrosse team won its second straight PAL Ocean Division championship this season.

The boys’ lacrosse team was not concerned about their 1-7 start to the season. They knew that playing teams like Serra, Sacred Heart Prep and St. Francis would prepare them effectively for league play. And just as it did in 2016, the Panthers’ hard work paid off.

Burlingame clinched its second consecutive PAL Ocean Division championship on May 11 with an 11-7 win at Sequoia. The Panthers won their final five games of the season and their last seven league games to finish 9-9 overall and 7-1 in league play. It was enough to finish one game ahead of Carlmont and two ahead of Aragon in the standings.

“I do think there was an added sense of pressure because last year we were pretty dominant,” senior midfielder Matt Janc said. “We did graduate a lot of players, but everyone that was on the team last year believed that we could do it again. [The hard schedule] was actually a blessing in disguise because it forced us to bring up our level of play. We were ready when our league games came.”

In addition to the difficult preseason, the Panthers also had to deal with a new head coach, as Kevin Arabejo replaced Troy Dinkel. Arabejo talked with Dinkel frequently about the team and the returning players to make sure the transition was as seamless as possible.

“I knew going into the season there was a lot of potential with the guys that we had on the roster,” Arabejo said. “I talk with coach Troy Dinkel; I’m very close with him. We bounce ideas back and forth with how to manage the team and what strategies to do. With his experience and knowledge knowing the kids so well, it helped me to get to know each individual player a little bit more.”

This year’s team was a good mix of senior leadership and young talent. It included six seniors, eight juniors, six sophomores and three freshmen. Junior attacker Luke Eichensehr had 34 goals and 20 assists for the season, leading the team in both categories. Junior Brennan Cosenza scored 25 goals for the season, Janc added 21, and senior Lucas Flygare and junior Benjamin Shaffer scored 15 and 13, respectively. Senior goalie Zach Israelit stopped 215 of the 355 shots on target against him, good for a 61 percent save rate.

“Our mix of size, speed, strength—that’s what lets us compete with all these other teams,” senior defenseman Oscar Bashaw said. “We have guys who [play two or three sports], who get after it every game. They have the durability and the mental toughness and everything you need to be able to succeed.”

After losing their first league game at home to Carlmont, 10-7 on March 27, the Panthers played with the desperation needed to successfully defend their division title. They proved their grit with one-goal wins at Aragon on April 20 and at Carlmont on April 27. On Senior Night, Burlingame put themselves in position to win the division by beating Aragon 11-7 on May 9 and wrapped it up by beating Sequoia two nights later.

“They did great,” Arabejo said. “We came a long way. We stacked our schedule to be really tough in the beginning. It really tested us and helped us grow. If we didn’t have those games, I don’t know if we would have had this much success with our league games. The team grew a lot, and they learned a lot about themselves.”

The boys’ lacrosse team was not concerned about their 1-7 start to the season. They knew that playing teams like Serra, Sacred Heart Prep and St. Francis would prepare them effectively for league play. And just as it did in 2016, the Panthers’ hard work paid off.

Burlingame clinched its second consecutive PAL Ocean Division championship on May 11 with an 11-7 win at Sequoia. The Panthers won their final five games of the season and their last seven league games to finish 9-9 overall and 7-1 in league play. It was enough to finish one game ahead of Carlmont and two ahead of Aragon in the standings.

“I do think there was an added sense of pressure because last year we were pretty dominant,” senior midfielder Matt Janc said. “We did graduate a lot of players, but everyone that was on the team last year believed that we could do it again.”

After losing their first league game at home to Carlmont, 10-7 on March 27, the Panthers played with the desperation needed to successfully defend their division title. They proved their grit with one-goal wins at Aragon on April 20 and at Carlmont on April 27. On Senior Night, Burlingame put themselves in position to win the division by beating Aragon 11-7 on May 9 and wrapped it up by beating Sequoia two nights later.

“They did great,” Arabejo said. “We came a long way. We stacked our schedule to be really tough in the beginning. It really tested us and helped us grow.”

Posted on June 2, 2017 .