No. 3 Palos Verdes (2-0) defended its home turf over Bay League rival and No. 1-ranked Redondo Union (3-1) on Wednesday in a back-and-forth 10-8 victory. The Sea Kings were led offensively by twin attackers Abigail Merchant (2g, 2a) and Brooklyn Merchant (3g).
“They’re indestructible,” Sea Kings coach Justine Beirne said of the Merchant sisters, who will play at Fort Lewis College next year. “They know exactly when to go and when to hold. They’re great players.”
Wednesday marked the third season in a row Palos Verdes has defeated Redondo in the teams’ first regular-season meeting of the campaign. Last year, PV won 11-9, and in 2017 the Sea Kings won 10-9. However, in each of the previous two seasons, Redondo has rebounded to win the second matchup and go on to claim the LA championship.
It was a game of runs, and the Sea Hawks got off to a 3-0 lead behind three consecutive wins at the draw to open the game. However, good goaltending and solid defensive play ensued, and the Redondo offense began to click in the final stretch run of the first half, enabling the Sea Hawks to take a slim, 4-3 lead at the break.
“The key for us is always winning the draw,” Sea Hawks coach Tom Borgia said. “[Palos Verdes’] zone is not easy, so my girls were really patient. It was kind of back and fourth.”
After a Redondo netter by Brooke Tokushige (4g, 1a), the Sea Kings really stepped on the gas across the board and went on a 5-0 run over the first 10 minutes of the second half, with Kendall Hoyt (2g) scoring the first two in that stretch.
“My college coach always told me that the team that wins the second half, first draw, usually wins the game,” Beirne said.
Despite two yellow cards, Redondo did not go down without a fight, however, and brought the Sea Kings lead down to within two within the final two minutes, but Palos Verdes came out victorious.
“We’ve got a lot of seniors that have a lot of poise,” Borgia said. “We just weren’t getting the draw. Hat’s off to [Palos Verdes]. They’re a great team.”
Outside of the Hoyt and the Merchant sisters, the Sea Kings received offensive contributions from McKenzie Olsen (1g, 2a), Harper Skeie (1g), and Emily Typrowicz (1g). Defensively, Aubrey Fixen really stood out between the pipes with nine saves.
“Aubrey Fixen is an animal,” Beirne said. “She’s the greatest. She knows when to be aggressive and really slow down and play the game right. I’m really proud.”
While Tokushige was the main scorer for Redondo, the Sea Hawks got some balance on offense with tallies from Marianna Gamet (1g), Sophie Ristorcelli (1g), Jordan Davis (1g), and Addison Bass (1g).
Palos Verdes will host No. 17 Mira Costa Friday afternoon and Redondo looks to get back in the win column Friday night in a road contest with Peninsula.