Live Oak sophomore Tanner Holeman applies defensive pressure against Los Gatos March 26. Photo: Jonathan Natividad

In boys lacrosse, Live Oak and Christopher are leading the Blossom Valley Athletic League in a collision course for the league title. The Acorns are 2-0 in BVAL action and the Cougars are 3-0, with both plundering the rest of the loop.

Live Oak beat Pioneer 15-2 and Leland 18-3, whereas CHS dumped Sobrato 17-3, Leland 11-1 and Pioneer 12-3. The Acorns will host the Cougars on April 10, with a rematch scheduled at Christopher on May 1.

“We’re having a good season,” Live Oak coach Gavin Herr said. “We’re now on the upswing. The defense is looking strong. Our midfielders play both ways and are improving. The offense is getting better.”

Since only 36 schools play the sport in the Central Coast Section, league alignments in boys lacrosse are quite different from the groupings that spectators are used to seeing in sports like football and basketball. 

Lacrosse, one of the oldest organized sports in North America, is growing in popularity. The sport offers speed, action and physicality and attracts football players and others. 

Lacrosse emphasizes ball-handling with the stick, dodging opponents and accurate shooting, while requiring extensive teamwork. Without breaks in play, lacrosse has more action than football.

The Acorns, testing themselves against other Central Coast Section powerhouses, are 3-3. Los Gatos topped them twice and Junipero Serra edged them 9-8. The Acorns bounced Carmel 11-5.

The 6-0 Cougars have non-league wins over Monte Vista Christian 17-3, Monterey 10-0 and Mountain View 8-7.

Live Oak seniors Kenyon Castro and Ben Ledwith celebrate a goal against Los Gatos March 26. Photo: Jonathan Natividad

“Ben (Ledwith) is great on the attack,” Herr said. “He knows how to finish. Luke (Richey) is a stallion. He’s a hard shooter. Kenyon (Castro) is an absolute athlete. On defense, we have Nolan (Ledwith). He plays the whole field. Ryan (Forbis) is one of our lockdown defenders. Kyle (Carmichael) is great in goal.”

Ledwith leads the stat sheet with 16 goals and five assists. Richey and Castro are right behind with 12 scores. Castro also has five assists.

Other contributors include Dylan Fisher, Jack Spinella, Tanner Holeman, Daniel Duran, Jonah Roush, Austin Woods, Sam Ellingson, Ryan Forbis and Lukas Marcheschi.

On March 26, the Acorns traveled to Los Gatos and fell 11-6, while learning some things about themselves and what it takes to succeed at a high level.

The Acorns fell behind 6-3 by halftime. Luke Richey scored twice in the first half and Kenyon Castro flung in a bouncer to beat the Wildcats’ goalie. 

But Los Gatos was fierce, especially in transition. A strong effort by Acorns goalie Kyle Carmichael kept Live Oak in the game.

Los Gatos came out sharp after the break and increased the lead. With two minutes remaining in the third period, the Acorns found more offensive success and rallied back. Nolan Ledwith, Tyler Lang and Everette Mahler all scored in a late surge to close within 9-6, with six minutes left. However, Los Gatos regrouped and added two late scores.

“Los Gatos doubled on our offensive players and we struggled to navigate around it,” Herr said. “We had trouble finding shooting lanes. Our defense played well. Later in the game, our offense started to rally back.”

Season goals for Live Oak include beating Christopher, winning the league title and achieving playoff success. Last year’s team was 16-3 and upset Archbishop Mitty in the single-division CCS playoffs before falling to Sacred Heart Prep in the quarterfinals.

Live Oak senior Luke Richey shoots one at the goal in the March 26 game against Los Gatos. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
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