The Newport Harbor Sailors cruised into Rancho Santa Margarita on February 28, looking to navigate their way to victory against the SMCHS Eagles. On this night, the undermanned Sailors would not find safe harbor. Despite a four-goal effort by Riley Robinson, the Sailors could not overcome the absence of four players to the flu and injury. The Eagles showed no sympathy and the Sailors were inundated by wave after wave of an unrelenting Eagle offense. The SM boys came out hard and fast, scoring 3 unanswered goals in the 1st quarter, followed by 4 more in the 2nd. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, the Eagles led 7-1.
The Eagle offense was led by Andrew Luher (4G, 1A) who tallied his second consecutive hat trick of the young season. Sophomore Hayden Ruiz (3G, 2A) also had a hat trick and added two assists on goals by Luher and Connor Ebner. Wes Schuler and Austin Tinsley both tallied one goal and one assist apiece. Cullen Bock also scored and Skyler Rockey added an assist. Aided by a strong clearing game (17 of 20), the SM offense kept the pressure on Newport throughout the contest and outshot the Sailors 35-21.
Not to be outdone, the Eagle defense was stout. The back line defenders, Connor Mullarky, Garrett Parsons and Josh Kang made life miserable for the Sailor offense all day and worked diligently to keep things clear in front of Eagle goalie Ronnie Pisano. Pisano stopped 6 of the 7 shots he faced before yielding to Griffin Rockey in the 3rd quarter. LSMs Ravi Dhouni and Jake Grubert played menacing defense, collecting 5 GBs each, with several of them coming on forced turnovers. The tight-checking defense also helped the Eagles win the ground ball battle (49-33). Ian Babcock continued his strong play in the faceoff circle, winning 6 of his 9 draws.