The No. 5 Trabuco Hills boys lacrosse team pulled away from No. 7 San Clemente with five goals in the fourth quarter to grab a 14-10 victory and the program’s first South Coast League championship since 2015. Holden Evans’ (4 goals, 3 assists) and Colin Seedorf (7/8 on fourth quarter faceoffs) were keys to the win.
There has not been much separation between these two teams on the field or in the rankings this year. The Mustangs edged the Tritons 16-15 two weeks ago and through three-quarters last night, it looked like this one might go down to the wire too. The Mustangs clung to a 9-8 lead entering the final quarter and carried with them the added burden of knowing that the Mustangs had never beaten the Tritons twice in the same season.
The Mustangs responded to the situation by stepping it up on both ends of the field in a total team effort. Seedorf dominated the dot in perhaps the most important 12 minutes of the Mustangs’ season, winning seven of eight. Once Seedorf secured possession, the Mustangs unselfishly distributed the ball as five different scorers, including Seedorf, got in on the fourth quarter action. Meanwhile the defense kept the Tritons under control.
“All of the ball movement was really good for the boys,” Evans said. “Everyone was working and moving around and getting open.”
The night of milestones made for an unforgettable experience for head coach Eric Bassett Bassett.
“It’s the biggest win [of my coaching career],” Bassett said. “We’ve come close so many times. We finally got over the hump and it feels so good. I’ve been with these kids for three years and I get them for one more year, so look out next year. But this by far is the biggest win for me.”
Mustangs made history tonight. First team to beat a tough San Clemente team twice in a season. First time undefeated in league. Highest OC Ranking at #5 (previous high was #6) 2 time South Coast League Champs. Proud of you Blue!! pic.twitter.com/xKpViS5Bvg
— TrabucoHillsBoysLax (@trabucohillslax) April 27, 2018
The outcome of this game was anything but certain at the beginning. The Tritons’ offense got off to a quick start with two unanswered goals early in the first quarter, but the Mustangs stormed back and took a slim 4-3 lead after one quarter of play. Evans, who had three goals and two assists in the first half alone, scored both of Trabuco’s goals in the second. The Tritons soon followed and kept pace with the Mustangs, but trailed 6-5 at the half.
Each team traded three goals each in the third quarter, but Branden Wilson was the star offensively for San Clemente with two goals in the frame. In what was looking to be a game that would be decided late, the Mustangs had other plans.
“Ground balls won this game, and faceoffs won this game,” Bassett said. “I’m just overwhelmed.”
.Outside of Evans and Seedorf, the Mustangs received offensive contributions from Tyler Payne (3g, 1a) Jason Kauo (3g), Jared Friesen (2g, 1a), and AJ Switzer (1g, 2a). Both of Switzer’s assists ended with a goal by Evans.
“We’ve gone from club to this, it’s just really worked out for us,” Evans said. “We always know where we’re going to be, and it’s just been really good all year.”
Jack Rogers (4g, 1a) led San Clemente’s offensive attack with a solid five-point performance, and Wilson (4g), Liam Nelson (1g, 1a), and Jake Brannon (1g) all got on the scoreboard. Eugene Kang had a monster night in cage with 16 saves, seven of which came in the second quarter to help keep the Tritons in the game.
Both teams end the regular season with playoff implication matchups as San Clemente will play No. 6 Corona Del Mar (8-8) at the Vista Hermosa Sports Park roughly a mile away from campus beginning at noon, and the Mustangs will conclude their regular season campaign against No. 9 Great Oak (9-5).