The San Clemente boys lacrosse alumni staged a furious comeback to defeat the varsity 14-11 in the program’s annual Christmas holiday alumni game Saturday.
“Beside our regular season, this game is my favorite activity for our program,” stated Tritons head coach Brendan Finnerty. “Our alumni players established a rich tradition of excellence over the years at San Clemente. I really enjoy having them come back to connect with the current players in our high school program. It’s just a great opportunity to have our team meet and learn from the guys who established our program legacy.”
The Varsity came to play, jumping out to a quick, 5-0 lead in the first quarter over a stunned alumni squad. The alumni responded with a strong second quarter to close the gap to 7-6 at halftime.
“I told our players I wanted them to treat this like a real game — to play fast and hard,” Finnerty said. “Our alumni players represent the top programs across all levels of college lacrosse, so it’s a unique opportunity for us to measure ourselves against the best.”
The alumni had players from top NCAA Division I programs (Albany, Air Force and Bellarmine); D-III powerhouse Salisbury, US Merchant Marine Academy and Whittier; and MCLA D-I players from Chapman, Cal, Arizona State, Cal Poly, Colorado State, UCLA, Concordia and Boise State.
“Our alumni players and families really represent our school mantra of ‘one town one team,’ and it shows in their ongoing support of our program,” Finnerty said.
The alumni took control in the second half and pulled away from a gritty varsity squad. The varsity was led by 2017 all-county players Branden Wilson (Utah), Jake Brannon and Liam Nelson.
The defense, led by Nick Amico, Dylan Hartanov and strong goalie play from Lewis Ahola, held a high-powered alumni team with in check early with aggressive defense and strong ground ball play. However, the alumni depth took over in the second half and eventually pulled away for the victory.
As is tradition, both team met for a pizza fundraising party to celebrate the occasion.
“I’m proud of how the varsity played against some very good competition and really appreciate the alumni and families for supporting this event each year, Finnerty said. “It’ll be fun for us to watch our alumni this spring as they begin their college seasons.”
Recap and photos submitted by San Clemente lacrosse.