The Berkeley High girls lacrosse team secured third place and a berth in the league tournament on Saturday afternoon, playing a strong game in all aspects to defeat Acalanes, 10-8 in Lafayette.
The victorious effort came on the heels of a disappointing loss to league rival Davis last Wednesday, in which the Yellowjackets struggled with ball movement and passing. The squad came out on Saturday determined to redeem themselves for the defeat, and with the possibility of being knocked out of the playoff hunt with another loss, there was plenty of motivation.
“I think the Davis game pushed us over the edge, with the combination of the (hot) weather and the great performance by the Davis players,” said BHS coach Lia Farley, who hoped the loss would be a wake-up call for the Acalanes game. “The Acalanes team was very tenacious, but we led throughout the game. I think people rallied (on Saturday).”
Berkeley High attacker Alana Perley put forth an explosive effort, netting four goals in four attempts to lead all scorers. Jamie Lee also posted a hat trick of her own, while Dani Ganes compiled two goals and three assists to fuel the offensive outburst. Elena Krieger chimed in with one goal.
“(Perley’s surge) was definitely something we’ve been waiting for,” Farley said after the game. “It’s been on her plate, and she was able to produce.”
In the shadow of Berkeley’s offensive effort was a strong defensive game that, according to the coach, was much better than the final tally suggests. Kristen Braasch and Joanna Hoch, Berkeley’s platooning goalkeepers, held their own in net throughout the game, with Braasch allowing just two goals in the entire first half of play. Though Hoch struggled at the outset of the second half, allowing quick scores to Acalanes, her game leveled out, and she was able to preserve the BHS victory.
“Kristen had a really awesome game, and I had a pretty bad start, but by the end, I was stopping them,” Hoch said. “I think we came into this game knowing we needed to play our best.”
“The goalkeeping was much improved,” agreed Farley, who also felt the midfield play was significantly better against Acalanes. “(The midfielders) were double-teaming, picking up grounders, and the defensive had an incredible game.”
With league playoffs beginning in two weeks, the ’Jackets plan to use the next 10 days of practice to address the weaker aspects of their game. Though the league season is over, Berkeley will participate in one more regular-season game, when it hosts Robert Louis Stevenson in a non-league battle this Saturday.
As the league’s third seed, Berkeley High will meet No. 2 seed Monte Vista – a team that swept the ’Jackets in the 2000 series – in the first round of the postseason. Despite the two losses in the regular season, the Yellowjackets have little doubt they can contend with the Mustangs on their best day, especially considering the fact that they’ve defeated Monte Vista in the first round of league playoffs the last two years.
“Our past two games (against the Mustangs) haven’t been very good. They’re really quick, and really aggressive,” Farley said. “But we definitely feel like we have a chance against them.”
“I think, on a good day, we can take anybody,” Hoch added. “We’ll try to play our best, and that should be enough.”