Junior midfielder Michael Walsh (middle) zips the ball past Tesoro's defense and scores a goal in the first quarter of Thursday's 9-7 win over Tesoro.
(Brandon Ross/MaxLaxOC)

Rancho Santa Margarita- No. 4 Santa Margarita (2-0) held off crosstown rival No. 8 Tesoro (1-2) with a 9-7 nail-biting win Wednesday night. Michael Walsh’s four points (3g, 1a) and Chase Lynch’s 15/20 performance at the faceoff X set the tone for Santa Margarita.

Senior FOGO Chase Lynch won 15 of 20 faceoffs in Santa Margarita’s tight 9-7 win over Tesoro on Thursday.

(Brandon Ross/MaxLaxOC)

For the second game in a row, Santa Margarita got off to a slow start, giving up two early goals within the first five minutes of the game. However, the Eagles responded right back to end the first quarter knotted up at two.

The second quarter was a defensive slugfest between the two rivals that saw Tesoro go into halftime with a tight 4-3 lead.

“It was ugly in the first half,” said head coach Adam Guy. “Tesoro did a great job in swarming on ground balls and they were doing a good job on getting extra possessions and beating us on the effort plays.”

Guys’ halftime talk seemed to spark the Eagles offense.   Led by two goals from junior midfielder Nicholas Parrino the Eagles grabbed their first lead of the night took a tight 7-6 edge into the fourth quarter.

With both teams know that victory was in their reach, defense continued to dominate in an intense final 12 minutes into the game.  Santa Margarita held on for their second win of the season by holding the Titans to one goal and adding an insurance point.

“Offensively, we started moving the ball and sharing it the way we’re supposed to,” Guy said. “Defensively, we made some key stops when we needed it and I was glad to see that because when we do struggle offensively it’s good to have the defensive side step up a little bit.”

In addition to Walsh’s four points and Parrino’s two goals, freshman attack Tyler Wrightson had one goal and two assists (three points), sophomore attack Jack Allender contributed one goal and two assists (three points) and senior attack Jack Fisher notched one goal. Lynch won 15 of 20 faceoffs and scored a goal as well.

“In the second quarter, I think I got into a zone,” Lynch said. “After losing the first two faceoffs, my coach pulled me to the side and gave me a pep talk and I was really able to pull myself together and get out of my head and just dominated.”

Santa Margarita played strong defense all game, holding Tesoro’s offense to seven goals in Thursday’s win.

(Brandon Ross/MaxLaxOC)

Despite being in two tight games to begin the season, Guy and his team believe that these early close games will help them in the long run.

“The Trinity League, if and when we make the playoffs, there’s going to be tight games,” Guy said. “We have to know how to face adversity.”

The Eagles will wrap the week up at home against Brighton (Utah) on Saturday at 11 a.m. On the other side of town, Tesoro will host Beckman (1-1) on Tuesday.

Game Notes: 

Lynch found out before the game he was named an Adrenaline All-American.  Lynch and 59 other top players in the west will play in the Adrenaline All-American game at the Ford Center “The Star” in Dallas.  The Star is the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Santa Margarita has now won three straight in the annual rivalry.  Tesoro’s last defeated the Eagles in 2014.

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