The Scotts Valley High girls’ lacrosse team was on the verge of something special prior to the start of this season.
Part of it was the addition of freshmen Taylor Santos and Sofia Niklaus, a pair of attackers/midfielders who played a major role in the program’s first ever title run.
The Falcons finished the year with a smashing 21-4 victory against Monte Vista Christian in Pacific Coast Athletic League play May 4.
With the win, they solidified a share of the league championship with Stevenson School. Both teams finished with a 10-1 record in PCAL play.
Niklaus said winning a league title shows that lacrosse is a competitive sport that she hopes will grow in the near future.
“Most people don’t know what lacrosse is, even here,” she said. “[It’s] just to show that we’re actually a competitive team and it’s really cool to win. Hopefully we can get it solo next year and not have to do a coin flip.”
Scotts Valley (13-1) lost a coin flip to Stevenson (13-4) that decided the automatic Central Coast Section playoff berth and the No. 4 seed.
Instead, the Falcons earned the No. 6 seed and they will play No. 11 Gunn High (10-6) at Harbor High on Wednesday at 7pm. The winner will play at No. 3 Los Gatos (16-0).
Sacred Heart Prep (13-3) earned the No. 2 seed and St. Ignatius (16-2) is the top team going into the CCS playoffs.
“It’d be awesome if we go pretty far in CCS because I think that’ll attract a lot of new people next year,” Santos said.
Scotts Valley is ranked No. 3 in the MaxPreps CCS rankings behind No. 2 Sacred Heart Prep (13-3) and St. Ignatius (16-2), which sits atop of the board.
St. Ignatius and Sacred Heart Prep are also ranked No. 2 and No. 5, respectively, in the state. Scotts Valley is ranked No. 27 in California.
The Falcons are riding a 10-game winning streak after losing the first meeting against Stevenson on March 16.
“I think we all learned how to work together more and know what each player is capable of,” Santos said.
The Falcons rallied around Santos who finished with 12 points—seven goals and five assists—in their season finale win against the Mustangs.
She was also instrumental in helping Scotts Valley beat Stevenson for a 17-16 redemption win April 20. She finished with four goals and six assists for 10 more points on the season.
“I think it showed our improvement from the beginning of the season to where we are now,” Santos said.
Santos is currently ranked No. 3 in California in total points scored with 134, according to MaxPreps. She is ranked second in the state with 65 assists and 28th with 69 goals scored for the Falcons this season.
Niklaus said getting the win against Stevenson also meant the Pirates weren’t so untouchable, after all.
“It’s good to win anytime, but it felt really nice to beat them,” she said.
Niklaus added four goals, two assists and finished with 18 draw possessions, including six draw controls in their win over MVC.
She has 66 points—42 assists and 24 goals—for the Falcons this season. Niklaus is ranked 11th in the state in assists.
Scotts Valley junior Ellie Raffo had seven goals, one assist and six draw controls, and junior Siena Wong had three goals, two assists and two draw controls in their win against MVC.
Niklaus,Santos, Raffo and Wong are all in the top 10 for point scorers in the CCS, according to statistics entered on the MaxPreps website.
Additional strong offensive play was contributed by junior Gianna Mandujano, and junior goalie Olivia Tinetti allowed just four goals.
Scotts Valley juniors Payton Dufour, Emma Dyc-O’Neal, Emily Hulme and freshman Skylar Dufour were other key factors on the defensive end.
Santos mentioned that Raffo and Wong have done a great job of starting the girls’ lacrosse program and keeping it afloat.
“It was nice to kind of walk on to a team that’s already a team, we didn’t really have to start it,” Santos said.
It also helped that both Santos and Niklaus have been playing together since they were six years old.
“It’s always helpful when you play with a team for so long, or at least some of the people, because you know what the other person is going to do,” Niklaus said. “It’s just a lot easier than having to adjust to a new team.”
Niklaus added that she joined the team to have a good time. Yet, she knows there’s still a lot of work to be done to get more people to join a young program that is just three years old.
“I just want to grow the program and obviously it’s great to win,” she said. “But mostly just get as much attention as we can so we can still have a program in the next few years.”