Every once in awhile sports fans are treated to a game where at the end you wish there was a way both teams could have won. In Saturday’s fourth and final game at Segertsrom High School, the No. 2 Foothill and No. 3 Tesoro’s boys’ lacrosse teams treated the fans to just that.
The Knights and Titans had tough to acts follow after the Santa Margarita – St. Margaret’s boys game came down to the final seconds and the Foothill-Mater Dei game went into overtime. But the boys did not disappoint. In the third instant classic of the day that featured an electric atmosphere, No. 2 Foothill stole victory from the jaws of defeat over No. 3 Tesoro 11-9 on Saturday at Segerstrom High School.
Tesoro got the early advantage, overwhelming the Foothill defense with pinball-like ball movement and precision interior passing that put the Titans up 5-1 at the end of the first quarter.
Carson Spooner had the Titans’ first three goals.
Although all the momentum was on the side of Tesoro, this was not the Knights first rodeo, and they found a way to stay in the game. While the rest of the Foothill offense was still trying to find it’s stride, Josh Fox (3 goals, 1 assist) stepped with a couple of snipes to initiate to initiate a Foothill 4-0 run that temporarily tied the game. After Tesoro scored a pair of their own, Foothill was down 7-5 at halftime.
“[Fox] just put the team on his back at that moment and came out strong,” said Foothill head coach Jon Fox.
Each team traded two goals apiece in the third quarter and Tesoro was 12 minutes away from continuing their impressive undefeated season.
Both teams continued to attack in the fourth However, the Foothill defense was by this time doing a much better job of protecting their crease and was starting to dominate time of possession. After a few impressive Hunter Souza saves, Fox beat his man in isolation to close the gap to 9-8 at about the eight-minute mark.
Spooner had the next scoring opportunity, finding himself all alone on the crease with Ethan Sepulveda, but Sepulveda saved the goal and maybe Tesoro’s season. Momentum was now shifting in Foothill’s favor but they continued to be frustrated by Souza until Riley Ahern took off down the alley and ripped one in the high far side corner to tie the game at 3:35.
With fans from both sides rocking the house and urging on their heroes, Foothill won the ensuing faceoff and set up on offense again. About 30 seconds later, Souza came up with another Sports Center save but Andrew Cumming picked up the rebound and put away the eventual game-winner.
Tesoro had one last chance when Spooner from about eight yards out beat Sepulveda but not the crossbar. The bounce went to Foothill who brought it down to the other end where Ellis Geis put the insurance goal into an empty net with Tesoro man down and time running out.
“Both of these teams put their hearts on the line out there,” Fox said. “It could have gone either way, but we were fortunate to make a few more plays.”
Outside of Fox’s impressive performance, the Knights got offensive contributions from Ellis Geis (2g, 1a), Andrew Cumming (2g, 1a), Troy Hofer (2g), Riley Ahern (1g), and Michael Logan (1g). Kenny Algeo was an absolute monster on defense for the Knights with four caused turnovers.
Tesoro’s offense received point tallies from Spooner (5g, 1a), Jonathan Gibson (3g, 1a), and Jason Moreta (1g, 2a). This was Tesoro’s first loss of the season, but despite all of that head coach Brian Dunn could not be more proud of his club for the great season that they had, ending the year at 19-1.
“The loss is obviously no fun, but that group of kids is hands down the most character-filled group of young men I’ve ever been around,” Dunn said. “They love each other, they work hard for each other and more than the wins and losses, those don’t matter to me at all. It’s seeing those guys becoming better men with better character. That season was a huge success.”
As a result of Foothills gritty come from behind win, they will rematch St. Margaret’s for the OC Championship game on Wednesday. The last time these two played on April 17, the Tartans won in San Juan Capistrano 13-9.