The addition of Aliso Niguel and Trabuco Hills brought a change to the South Coast League lineup causing many to wonder if someone other than Tesoro or San Clemente will win the SCL race for the first time since who knows when. The first test came Tuesday night when Aliso and Tesoro played one another for the first time as in-league opponents. Tesoro came in looking to rebound from an extremely difficult no- league schedule where Tesoro took on four top 10 Southern Section opponents. Aliso on the other was ready to put behind them the recent loss to No. 6 Great Oak, and give it a go against their second Top 10 opponent of the season.
Aliso jumped out early in a fast paced first quarter that saw senior attack Jonah Rinaldi’s (6 goals, 1 assist) complete the first half of his double hat trick. The first quarter ended with Aliso leading 5-2. Tesoro fought back in the 2nd quarter, shutting down the Wolverines offense as Aliso unwisely tested D1 commit (Michigan) goalie Gunner Garn (11 saves) from long range. Tesoro evened the score at 5-5 for a halftime score.
The start of the second half was back and forth, but Aliso took control of the game by the start of the fourth quarter. The battle at faceoff x proved to be the pivotal play for the contest. Senior faceoff specialist Michael Marino (Colorado Mesa) controlled the faceoffs, giving junior midfield/attack Garrett Hoang (2g, 4a) repeated opportunities to use his athleticism to distribute the ball and keep the Wolverine offensive motor humming while the Titans defense attempted to contain the high energy play of Rinaldi.
In addition to Rinaldi and Hoang, Reese Wong (1g), Jake Lombardo (1a), Matt Jones (2g), and Tanner Clarke (1a) tallied points for the Wolverines. Goalie Austin Stahl had seven saves.
Cole Spooner’s four points (3g, 1a) was tops for the Titans. Braden King, Mitchell Bender, Zach Espinola, Jason Moreta, and Blake Warner all scored single goals for Tesoro. Garn had 11 saves.
Final score: Aliso Niguel 11 Tesoro 8.