PaliHi Boys Lacrosse Wins City Title

The Palisades High School boys lacrosse team made it look easy on Saturday, April 29, routing Hamilton, 16-6, to win the City Section championship.

With Brandon Kay winning 18 out of 21 faceoffs, Palisades constantly had possession, and with that, the forwards and middies went to work. Zane Daily and Jack O’Rourke each scored four goals, Macchio Rissone tallied three, Giovani Mazariegos and James Burks each had two and Joey Hirschman added one.

The PaliHi boys lacrosse team celebrates winning the City Section championship.

The PaliHi boys lacrosse team celebrates winning the City Section championship.

“There was no better way of ending my final home game,” said Kay, who will be playing club lacrosse at the University of Iowa next year, where he plans to major in economics. He started in the faceoff posi- tion about 2 1⁄2 years ago, and attributes his quickness and skill to the hard work he’s put in on the field. Additionally, he played box lacrosse and club lacrosse with the Santa Monica Dragons and the Face-off Academy.

“This is a gritty position,” said Kay, who noted that the team’s success is built on the fact that the players are like a family. “We have a network. On and off the field we support each other.”

The night before the city championship game, Palisades beat West Ranch, 13-6. Once again, Kay gave the Dolphins possession after possession and the team used it to good advantage. Daily led the scoring with four goals, Rissone had three, O’Rourke and Joey Hamwi each had two and Burks and Martin Avila added one.

On Saturday, after Pali defeated Hamilton, head coach Kevin Donovan noted,“Today it was hard for the kids to bring energy to the field, playing back to back games.” But he felt his team is exactly where he had hoped they’d be at this point in the season. “We’re playing our best coming into [CIF] playoffs.”

The Dolphins, at one time a powerhouse in lacrosse, are fighting their way back after a lack of leadership in 2014-15. Last year, Donovan and defense coach Will Manning took over the program, three days before the first game. The men knew they wanted more than a City championship—they wanted to once again be a threat in the Southern Sectional playoffs.

Early in the season Donovan said, “We could go 16-3 [in the city] and win every- thing, but I’d rather go 7-7 and get the team better prepared for the playoffs.” (Last year, the 16th-ranked Dolphins lost to Palos Verdes, 21-3, in the first round.)

Before this season began, Donovan scheduled three tough end-of-the-season matches: Oak Park on April 21 (a 18-5 loss), Santa Monica on April 24 (a 6-5 win), and West Ranch.

Going into the game against 11th-ranked Santa Monica, the Dolphins were ranked 17th in Southern California. West Ranch was ranked 15th. The two wins should have helped Pali improve its position at the seeding meeting held April 30. The playoffs begin this week.

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