Sixteen teams entered the OC/IE girls lacrosse championship tournament, but after a sweep by the favorites in Round 1 only the top eight seeds teams remain. Things heat up today when four second round games will be played to decide who makes it to Segerstrom High School this Saturday for the county semifinals.
Recap of round one
Despite the parity we saw during the regular season there were no upsets in the first round. Even more surprising is that that none of first round games were close. Seven of the eight games were won by double-digits. In the lone game not decided by double digits, No.8 Newport Harbor defeated No.9 Los Alamitos 14-7.
In the most decisive victories of the round, No.7 San Clemente beat No.10 El Dorado 21-2. The Tritons held the Golden Hawks, who averaged 12.7 goals per game, to their lowest point total of the season. Such a solid performance by a seven-seed shows that the pool of serious championship contenders may be as deep this year as it has ever been.
#1 Foothill vs. #8 Newport Harbor
How they got here: Foothill (15-1) beat #16 Yorba Linda in the first round 18-4, while Newport Harbor (10-8) beat #9 Los Alamitos 14-7.
This will be the second matchup this season between the Knights and the Sailors. The Knights beat the Sailors 16-9 in the first game. Newport Harbor has never beaten Foothill in team history and will face an uphill challenge.
Players to watch : Brooke Williams scored six goals in the Knights’ first round playoff win while Ashley Stokes (2g, 1a) got back on track after being shut out in Foothill’s regular season finale. Ava Brand and Peyton Puma both had hat tricks in against Yorba Linda. The Sailors will have the services Delaney Knipp, unlike the first matchup against the Knights. Look for Mariana Miller and Joelle Rothbard to get involved to help take some of the pressure off off of Knipp.
#2 St.Margaret’s vs. #7 San Clemente
How they got here: St.Margaret’s (12-3) beat #15 Santiago 18-5 while San Clemente beat #10 El Dorado 21-2.
This matchup will pit coach Holly Reilly‘s high-powered Tartan offense against coach Josh Cain‘s disruptive defense. This will mark the first meeting between the two teams since since the second round of the 2017 championship tournament.
Players to watch for: Campbell Case returned from her foot injury and registered two goals and one assist in the first round while Maddie Barkate registered four goals and five assists. Add Niki and Jordan Miles and you’ve got four players which could have big games for the Tartans. Delaney Iles and Stolie Erickson each had five goals against El Dorado. Goalies Kennedy Kingsmill and Brookelynn Hodgin will need to step up for the Tritons in the cage if they want to make the semifinals for the first time in team history.
#3 Mater Dei vs. #6 Aliso Niguel
How they got here: Mater Dei (14-5) defeated #14 San Juan Hills 19-4 while Aliso Niguel (14-5) beat No.11 University 18-6. The Wolverines will be out to avenge a 12-8 loss to the Monarchs that occured on March 5.
Players to watch: All eyes will be on the Monarchs’ offensive leadership of Peyton Smith, Tess Keiser and Gianna Danese. Mater Dei has scored in double digits in all but one game, a 14-7 loss to Scripps Ranch.The senior trio makes the Monarchs’ engine hum. Lily Molkara stands strong at goalie.
Aliso Niguel, which only has three seniors, will look to get a big games from Taylor Wedlock and Kendall Decker offensively. If goalie Olivia Kilroy can repeat Tuesday’s performance of 10 saves, the Wolverines could find themselves playing on Semis-Saturday for the first time since 2013.
#4 Santa Margarita vs. #5 Trabuco Hills
How they got there: Santa Margarita (15-3) beat #13 Beckman 25-9 while Trabuco (15-4) beat #12 Corona Del Mar 16-6
Don’t be surprised if these two teams bring playoff intensity to a new level. Not only did the Mustangs beat the Eagles 17-11 in March, they also delivered the Eagles a knockout blow in last year’ second round game. In that second round game, Trabuco Hills overcame a late six-goal deficit in a controversial penalty-marred game that is still a topic of discussion on “the Hill” at Santa Margarita.
Players to watch: Katelyn Murphy had 10 goals in the first round and will look to lead the Eagles to their first semifinal appearance since 2013. Look for Murphy to get Molly Jacobson, who had five goals in the first round, involved. Trabuco Hills is paced by Hennessey Evans, who had seven goals in round one while Jenna Phillips had four goals. Ieneke Jiminez also knows how to score. Despite this being a possible high-scoring affair, look for Mustangs Emma Stone to step up her game at the goalie position, as the they look to make the semifinals for the second straight year.