Eight minutes into La Jolla High School's girls lacrosse game against Torrey Pines on April 19, the Vikings were already ahead by four goals, and if it seemed they were an unstoppable force, that might have summed up just how their opponents were feeling.
La Jolla pressed on and secured a 14-6 nonleague victory over the Falcons, just another success in a fine season that appears to have them pointed toward the postseason and another run deep into the CIF-San Diego Section playoffs.
With the win, La Jolla improved its 2006 season record to 9-1, and the Vikings showed that very few teams, within their league or outside of it, will intimidate them.
"We've always had a pretty strong team, and these nonleague games are great for our strength of schedule. We try to mix it up with as many hard teams as possible," said Dana Cappello, the fourth-year La Jolla coach who has taken the Vikings to the playoffs each of the last three years and secured one section championship. "Toward the end of our season, we meet the teams like Poway and La Costa Canyon, the teams that are really going to be something to measure up against. We try to keep our schedule as strong as possible so we'll be prepared for the playoffs.
"It is a great confidence booster to have a record like we have. The girls are playing great. I think they've won all the games that they should have won this year, and that's all you can hope for."
The Vikings appeared to be hitting on all cylinders against Torrey Pines. They surged to a 4-0 lead by the 17:47 mark of the first half, and despite the fact that the Falcons answered with two quick goals, the Vikings never let them get any closer than that.
La Jolla led, 8-4, at the halftime break, and the Vikings proceeded to score the first four goals of the second half. That flurry, which gave them a 12-4 lead, essentially sealed the game for them. Even with many of their backup players in the game, the Vikings outscored the Falcons, 6-2, in the second half.
Junior midfielder Taryn Olson led the offensive charge for La Jolla, scoring four goals. Senior attack Briana Gonzalez and senior defender Susan Wright each scored three goals for the Vikings, and junior attack Stefi Kalkstein scored twice. Junior attack Hannah Novick and sophomore midfielder Mia Cohen each scored once.
"Briana had a great game," Cappello said. "We noticed by halftime that they were face-guarding her. We like to say that you know you're having a great game if someone's face-guarding you. We sort of score by committee. The great part of our attack is that there's no one superstar; everybody sort of chips in. But I think it was her game today on the attack."
That attack was aided by a strong transition game and a defense that kept the ball mostly out of La Jolla's defensive zone.
The Vikings cut off Torrey Pines' passing lanes and limited the Falcons' good runs at the net.
"Our defense did really well," Cappello said. "They were a little rocky in the beginning, but we pulled them in to make an adjustment, and they did it. That's such an asset for our defenders. They make the changes and assess the attacking team. They figure out what they need to do and do it for the rest of the game. In this case, I think they really did break down (Torrey Pines') attack."
It also didn't hurt that La Jolla's goalie, senior Kristin Oshtosh, is having a tremendous season and routinely thwarted scoring chances on the rare occasions when Torrey Pines did break through the Vikings' defense.
"Kristin had probably one of the best games I've seen her play all year," Cappello said. "That was really great to see in her. And our second-string goalie got in there and got three saves in 15 minutes."
Given the Vikings' impressive performance so far this season - which included a pair of wins that don't count toward their record, from a tournament at Stanford University this month - their coach is confident they could be in for another exciting month of lacrosse.
"It's interesting, because we've lost a lot of seniors, and all of a sudden these girls are cropping up," Cappello said. "I think it's their time to shine. They've impressed me so much this year that as of right now, yeah, I think we can go deep in the playoffs. I think we can go head to head with Poway, Coronado, Torrey Pines and LCC. Those are the only hurdles I see between us and the CIF championship."