SANTA ANA- Down 8-3 after three quarters, No. 9 Mater Dei came on strong with five goals in the final 12 minutes. It was too little too late though as Oaks Christian (Los Angeles No. 5) had just enough to hang on for a 9-8 intra-county win. With the win, the Lions extended their win streak to five games. The Monarchs have dropped three of their last four games.
Lorenzo Santor scored two goals and Cade Rogers added another for Oaks Christian in the first quarter, giving them a 3-2 lead after the quarter. A quiet second quarter by both teams resulted in a slim 5-3 lead for the Lions at halftime.
“We came out flat,” said Mater Dei head coach Johnny Rodriguez. “First three quarters, we looked like a JV lacrosse team.”
Mater Dei hardly ever touched the ball in the third quarter and Oaks Christian capitalized on Monarchs mistakes with three unanswered goals to take a comfortable 8-3 lead heading into the fourth frame.
The never-say-die Monarchs started to show signs of life early in the fourth quarter with two unanswered goals to close the gap to 9-5. Oaks Christian opened the door to a Mater Dei comeback by committing eight of their nine total team penalties in the quarter. The Monarchs took the late momentum and brought the game within reach, but fell short. Oaks Christian hung on for the 9-8 win.
“We played 25 percent of the game and lost by one goal to a team that could have been one of our best wins of the year,” Rodriguez said. “[Oaks Christian] gave things to us. They had four penalties in 30 seconds and that’s what we were looking for. Nobody wanted to step up today.”
Santor (3 goals, 1 assist) and Danny Redell (3g, 1a) paced the Lions with four point performances. Mike Spaeth (2a), Cade Rogers (1g), Connor MacLeod (1g), Carson Campbell (1g), and Cort Rogers (1a). As a team, Oaks Christian picked up 32 ground balls and had 19 shots. They also successfully cleared 27 of 35 times.
The Monarchs were led by Sean Waterman’s impressive seven-point (3g 4a) performance. Zach Torres added a hat trick. Nick Sando (1g) and Richard Eusey (1g) rounded out the scoring for Mater Dei.
Rodriguez was disappointed in his squad’s ability to put it all together for four quarters.
“I asked them at the end of the game ‘Raise your hand if the first thing you thought about this morning was that it’s game day. Only two or three guys raised their hand,” Rodriguez said. “It’s middle of the season. We do our best as coaches to try to make sure they aren’t going through the motions everyday. We try to mix things up in practice. We try to throw in little surprises for them here and there to keep them on their toes. Monday games are tough, and Oaks Christian did a better job at responding to that than we did. We weren’t there mentally, we weren’t there physically, [and] we weren’t there emotionally for three quarters.”
The victorious Lions (4-2, 11-2) will look to extend their win-streak to six when they travel to San Juan Capistrano for a non-conference matchup against JSerra (0-5, 1-10) tonight at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, Mater Dei (9-5, 3-2) will get a week off and look to get back in the win column in a non-conference showdown against No. 14 Aliso Niguel (1-3, 6-4) on April 17 at 7 p.m.