LA CAÑADA — Dylan Sweet had no difficulty comparing this season’s St. Francis High lacrosse team to last year’s version.“Last season was our first [CIF-sanctioned] team and we were more like a football team with lacrosse sticks in our hands,” said Sweet, a junior attacker who scored a team-high five goals Thursday to power host St. Francis to a 14-7 nonleague victory against Glendale at Friedman Field. “This year, we have more of a feeling for the game and you can see us getting better in overall skills.”
PHOTOS: St. Francis High vs. Glendale boys' lacrosse
Sweet enjoyed quite a performance to help St. Francis improve to 3-6. Glendale, a first-year CIF-sanctioned team, dropped to 2-4. Both are freelance teams.The Golden Knights used a fast start and never trailed. Sweet contributed four first-half goals.
“It was big to get off to a good start because it allowed the team to get into a groove,” said Sweet, who completed his hat trick with 6:06 left in the second quarter to give St. Francis a 7-2 advantage. “You just try to go out there to lead and help your teammates.”
St. Francis received a balanced scoring attack. The Golden Knights received three goals apiece from midfielder Kyle Stanley and attacker Ian Gordon.
St. Francis held a 10-4 halftime lead, capped by a goal from Sweet with 14 seconds remaining.
Glendale Coach Joe Campbell said the Nitros were not prepared to begin the 48-minute match.
“We slept through the first half,” said Campbell, who got two goals apiece from attackers Andrew Cruz and Justin Driffill. “When we got to the fourth quarter, we started to play at a much higher level and we were outscored, 4-3.
“Right now, it’s just a process and we’ll continue to grow.”
St. Francis outscored Glendale, 3-0, in the third quarter to extend its lead to 13-4.
St. Francis Coach Geoff Watson said the Golden Knights have showed signs of improvement.
“I think we are playing with more confidence,” said Watson, who got one goal each from midfielders Aaron Han, Stephen Krause and Francisco Durazo. “We are playing more relaxed and the goal is to finish over .500.
"Dylan is one of our go-to players in terms of scoring and providing leadership. He loves the sport. He’s showing the rest of the players how to work hard.
”Glendale also got one goal each from midfielder Edgardo Sanchez, attacker Kevin Espaldon and attacker/midfielder Ricky Platero.Campbell said the Nitros will look to make adjustments across the field.
“We have to get better at ground balls because you can’t win when you get beat in those situations,” Campbell said. “We’ve also got to generate more offense from the midfield and get better in transition defense.”
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .