Terry Bernal/Daily Journal
Sacred Heart Prep senior Brian White notched a pair of double hat tricks last week against Mountain View and archrival Menlo.
Brian White got hot at precisely the right time.
At the outset of a week featuring a boys’ lacrosse matchup against rival Menlo, White — a senior at Sacred Heart Prep — emerged with a double hat trick en route to an 18-7 rout of Mountain View April 1. Then against archrival Menlo April 3, White duplicated the feat with six goals to pace SHP to a pivotal 15-14 win.
His offensive heroics make White the San Mateo Daily Journal Athlete of the Week.
The showdown between the Gators and the Knights was a battle of unbeatens. And with the dramatic one-point win, SHP moved into first place while improving to 5-0 in De Anza League play. Since losing their first two games of the season, SHP has won seven of its last eight games.
The Gators are already looking ahead though. They play two more critical games this week with a Tuesday matchup against third-place Palo Alto before traveling to Menlo-Atherton Thursday. Also, SHP has to travel to Menlo for the De Anza League rematch May 1.
“I think we’ve got to go into it with a chip on our shoulder, not content with a one-goal win,” White said. “We’ve got to really be ready for a tough game that we can come up and win … by a bigger spread.”
Still, last week’s clash with Menlo was quite a show. The game was Sacred Heart Prep’s featured athletics’ game of the week prompting the biggest crowd White has seen in his four years as a varsity player. With the Menlo campus right next door to Sacred Heart Prep, the showing was fairly equal in support of both teams. And as the game went down to the wire, things got pretty nuts.
“It was pretty loud,” White said. “It was awesome.”
A seesaw battle throughout, SHP took a 9-7 lead into the half. Menlo junior Jack Marren rallied the Knights back in the third quarter with one of his four goals to tie it at 10-10. SHP star senior Sean Mayle responded with a goal to give the Gators the lead for good at 11-10. But as Menlo stayed within striking distance, White put the game away with his final goal to cap the double hat trick on an unassisted midrange dodge, staking SHP to a 15-13 lead.
“I didn’t think we played our sharpest game,” SHP head coach Chris Rotelli said. “I thought, at times, it was sloppy. But it was very hard fought. We had very good energy and we grinded it out when we needed to.”
With four more weeks remaining on the schedule, Rotelli takes the Gators’ current undefeated record with a grain of salt.
“We haven’t really done anything yet,” Rotelli said.
White is one of a core group of players with the ability to do something special this season. He and fellow seniors Mayle, Frankie Hatler, Alex Castro and Noah Kawasaki have all played lacrosse together since grade school, starting with the Redwood City club team the Tomahawks. White, himself, has been playing since the second grade.
Mayle is universally recognized as the Gators’ best player. Ticketed for the University of Denver — currently ranked No. 8 in the nation — the senior is a major target for opposing defensemen.
“Sean Mayle is one of the best … I’ve ever played with,” White said. “He’s so fast and he really has a powerful shot and he can control the ball so well.”
Mayle’s prowess creates plenty of opportunities for his teammates to step up, with White being the recent benefactor.
“He can almost score at will,” White said. “But what happens a lot, he gets shut off by [the opponent’s] long pole. That’s what Mountain View did a lot, Menlo did a little bit — shut him off where all the other offensive players would have to do their part.”
White has plenty of lacrosse chops though, along with an impressive lineage. His older brother Bill graduated from Sacred Heart Prep in 2012 allowing for the two to play together with the Gators for two years. White’s father Jim was a college lacrosse player at Northwestern, where Bill White is now a student and where Brian White will attend in the fall.
For the time being though, Brian White is just enjoying the ride of scoring 12 goals in SHP’s last two games.
“I think this past week something clicked and I was playing pretty well,” he said.