Cate couldn’t make up an 11-4 first-half deficit and suffered a 15-9 loss against Newbury Park in a non-league girls lacrosse game on Tuesday.

The Rams struggled on the draw, winning only seven of 20.

“However, our overall team defense was stronger and we improved significantly during the game,” coach Renee Mack said. “In fact, Cate came out ahead in the second half, outscoring Newbury 5-4.

Piper Brooks led the defense, causing six turnovers and often covered two Newbury Park players. Kenzie Davidson and Lily Rhiel also played well on defense, said Mack.

Rheil and Daphne McKeefry each scored three goals for the Rams.

“Sometimes, it is believed to be beneficial to play the strongest teams on your schedule early in the season because it sets the bar high,” Mack said. “I believe that to be true this year, especially if this week is any indication of how they respond to challenge. I am proud of the team and their determination this week.  I look forward to seeing where this team can go over the next few months. I do believe that the sky is the limit.”

The Rams are off until March 21 when they play San Marcos.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.