Six junior varsity players on the La Cañada High girls' lacrosse team received a trial by fire in the Spartans' first round CIF Southern Section playoff game against Palisades.
A shorthanded La Cañada squad, with three players out with the flu, struggled in the first half and ultimately lost, 11-7, at home. The defeat ended the season for the Spartans, who were playing in their first season as a CIF-sanctioned squad.
Hannah Peitzman scored the first goal of the game less than two minutes into the contest. But Palisades (14-6) answered right back with 10 straight goals.
The Dolphins took an 8-1 lead into the second half and added two more goals in the first two minutes of the final half before La Cañada (10-8) began turning the tide.
Down 10-1 with 23 minutes left in the game, the Spartans went on a 6-1 run to make things interesting. However, the locals couldn't complete the comeback.
"The first half was a bit muddled because they were all in totally different positions and we kept switching it around. But they completely turned it around in the second half," La Cañada Coach Alison Dodson said.
Peitzman finished the game as La Cañada's leading goal scorer, with three. Lucy Dodson, Sarah Cohen and Paige Milne each had a goal apiece for La Cañada. Caroline Gordon had eight saves in the net for the Spartans.
La Cañada had defeated Palisades in its two previous meetings this season. The Spartans got the best of the Dolphins, 5-1, in the Rose Bowl Jamboree March 5 and beat them again at home, 11-8, March 29. But the Spartans came into Tuesday's game tired, as it was the team's second game in as many days after they'd lost to Prep League opponent Chadwick on the road Monday, 13-7.
"I'd have liked to play [Palisades on Wednesday], but the second-round game is Thursday so we had to suck it up. It's tough, though, because I would have liked to have a day to rest up," Coach Dodson said.
The loss comes after La Cañada dominated the regular season, losing only one game in the Prep League and battling some of the top competition in Southern California lacrosse.
"We've played some good tough teams this year. We have a good squad and we didn't play all easy games, so we put some tough games in our schedule because we wanted to stretch ourselves," said Dodson, who scheduled tough teams like Redondo Union, Thacher, Mission Viejo and Laguna Hills this year. The Spartans faced Laguna Hills at home on April 28 and lost, 13-5.
Molly Peitzman, La Cañada's other co-captain, said the team has had so much success this season because of the team's chemistry.
"We've been playing as a cohesive unit from defense to offense," she said after the team's game against Laguna Hills.
Coach Dodson was encouraged by the second-half effort she received from her team.
"We were a little demoralized after the first half; but it's our seniors' last game, and they wanted to go out and play well and they did," she said.