Under coach Jimmy Borell, Palos Verdes plays with passion, intensity

Jimmy Borell
Palos Verdes coach Jimmy Borell oversees a Sea Kings squad that plays with the same kind of intensity seen in Borell's eyes.

The Daily Breeze had a solid report on Wednesday night’s Palos Verdes win over Palisades for the L.A. County title, including the note that it was PV’s first L.A. championship since back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008. (The Breeze also has an excellent photo gallery from the game.)

Jimmy Borell
Palos Verdes coach Jimmy Borell oversees a Sea Kings squad that plays with the same kind of intensity seen in Borell's eyes.

This edition of the Sea Kings is an impressive bunch under coach Jimmy Borell, a former All-American at Maryland, with 15 seniors, at least two of whom are bound for NCAA Division I programs next year. Zack Fixen, who scored four goals vs. Palisades, is headed to Maryland, and Zach Henkhaus is heading to Bucknell.

One other thing that struck me about PV was the team’s intensity and attitude.  Not only were they a team of terrific athletes with high-level lacrosse skills and lax IQ, they also played with a chip on their shoulder. Jeremy Hogue, a former offensive lineman at USC, wrote this about Tony Boselli, a former teammate at USC who had a long and decorated NFL career:

“One thing I write about a lot in my columns is the attitude of football players, and how players approach the game, approach opponents. I often refer to it as a ‘meanness’ that not everyone seems to have, and in fact some people shy away from. Well, Tony Boselli was a great guy off the field. But on the field, Tony was as mean as they come. A good mean, not a dirty mean. But he didn’t just want to win his assignment or keep his guy from making a tackle. He wanted to punish the guy across the line. He wanted him to quit. He wanted to be the guy that no defensive lineman wanted any part of. And almost always, he did just that.”

I’ve seen plenty of the “dirty mean” that Hogue refers to on lacrosse fields in L.A., and I’m sure some could argue that PV had a little of that in them Wednesday night.  But mostly what I saw was a group of guys who fought for everything, right up to — and maybe a tiny bit after — the whistle.  Good for them.  I didn’t see anything dirty or over the line, just talented, intense athletes playing at full speed and with a passion.

Some other notes and observations from Wednesday night:

  • From the Daily Breeze story, some stats from Wednesday night’s game:  In addition to Fixen’s four goals, senior John Romer scored three times, junior attack Tony Romeri and senior attack Dean Dillenberg each scored twice and Henkhaus and senior Michael Schladen had a goal each.
  • Senior faceoff specialist Romare Smith won 18 of 21 faceoffs, and senior goalie Grant Cigliano made seven saves.  Those numbers alone help explain Palos Verdes’ dominance — Smith helped the Sea Kings control possession, meaning the ball spent little time in PV’s defensive half and Cigliano faced very few shots on goal.
  • For Palos Verdes, the 13 goals actually was the fewest the team has scored against a California team this season since a season-opening, 11-7 win over Huntington Beach. The Sea Kings were held under 10 goals only twice — in a 9-8 loss to Langley, Va., currently ranked as the No. 1 team in Virginia, and in a 10-9 loss to Westfield, Va., currently ranked No. 6 in Virginia.
  • Palisades’ scoring came from attack Daniel Gurvis and middie Tyler Wenker, who each scored twice.
  • After Palisades took a 3-1 lead with 2:33 left in the first quarter, the Dolphins didn’t score again until 1:13 remained in the third. That’s 25:20 without a goal. Palos Verdes scored eight in that span, then shut out Palisades for the remaining 13:13.