San Juan Capistrano- Opening-night jitters got the best of a young JSerra (0-1) team at home Wednesday night as they dropped their season opener 11-2 to Aliso Niguel (1-0). The Wolverines did not look back after scoring two goals within the first three minutes of the game while playing a strong zone defense throughout the entire game.
“(Aliso Niguel) started in a zone immediately and we adjusted for it,” said head coach Brendan Porter. “Every single time there was an opening in the zone. One guy would run with his head down because he knows he has to get from A to B, but the opening happens at C.”
After the first period, Aliso Niguel was already up 4-0 on the Lions. JSerra got on the board midway through the second off junior captain Joe Miraglia’s unassisted goal, but still trailed 6-1 heading into the half.
“We could have connected better on the passes and worked together as a team more,” Miraglia said. “Defense we were really strong and offense we were a little slow.”
JSerra struggled to get the ball in the net in the third quarter and trailed 9-1 after three. Despite a late goal in the fourth by sophomore Blake Reed, the Lions ended with the nine-point defeat. Aliso Niguel outshot JSerra 35-7 collectively.
Junior Parker Bledsoe recorded two shots and two ground balls, senior Hunter Neal notched four ground balls and sophomore goalkeeper Zach Clark had 10 saves in net.
Nicholas Braico led the offensive output for Aliso Niguel with three goals (six total shots) and two assists. Sean Ibarra and Aaron White each contributed two goals and one assist.
Despite the near double-digit defeat, Porter was optimistic that everything he saw can be corrected.
“We just need to learn how to play lacrosse,” Porter said. “It’s just little things like understanding where to be on the field, where to come on the field and how to come on the field. It’ll come in time. It is nothing we can’t overcome. We just got to understand that it’s a lacrosse IQ thing and that comes from playing games.”
The Lions will look to get back on track Friday as they host rival Capistrano Valley. The Cougars are coming off an impressive 20-1 road win against Segerstrom this past Monday.
Aliso Niguel travels to Capistrano Valley on Tuesday for their next game.