Trabuco Hills Girls Lacrosse ran their season-opening win streak to three Tuesday night by topping Newport Harbor, 8-5. The Sailors were also undefeated coming into the game, having just taken the green championship trophy at the Rose Bowl Jamboree. But on Tuesday, Trabuco Hills defended its home turf admirably. The difference in the game came early: In a six-minute span, Trabuco’s star attacker Jenelle Phillips scored three goals off of her signature drive. She would finish the game with five.
Both teams seemed content to let the early game come to them, each setting up tentative offensive possessions only to be thwarted by impressive early saves by each goalkeeper. The Mustangs finally drew first blood when, after 5 minutes of play, Phillips beat the Sailor goalie for two quick scores. The game then resumed its slower place before Phillips struck again. This was followed by a very methodical offensive set that culminated in Becca Haggard finding Marina Sandoval with a slick pass right in the slot for a 4-0 Trabuco Hills lead.
After over 13 minutes of frustration, Newport Harbor finally got on the board after Mustang keeper Erin Beall had made several more impressive stops. Phillips promptly responded with another tally of her own, followed by a stellar individual effort by Audie Shutler in which she was able to weave between several defenders for a high-quality shot and score. Both goalies were playing exceptionally well, keeping the score well within reason given the frequent offensive chances on each end of the field. The Sailors stepped up their defensive play with swarming coverage of the Mustang offense, finally resulting in a late turnover that lead directly to a goal to bring Newport Harbor to within 4 as the horn sounded for half-time. The 6-2 lead felt far from comfortable for the Mustangs. The second half opened with Trabuco Hills again slowing down the pace, content to move the ball around the zone without attempting to create any real scoring opportunities. With little movement away from the ball, this ultimately lead to yet another turnover, which Newport Harbor took full advantage of, shrinking their deficit to 3.
The Mustangs finally responded with a beautiful run by Phillips from the restraining line that split the defense and resulted in her fifth goal of the contest. Kendall Derbyshire followed that up with a great hustle move and shot to push the lead back to 5. Following a timeout, Newport Harbor was able to control the draw and move the ball very efficiently to net their fourth goal of the game. Playing with desperation as time ticked away, the Sailors again pressed hard for possession and managed a fifth goal late. Time and score were on the side of Trabuco Hills, however, and the Mustangs held on for a convincing and satisfying 8-5 victory. In addition to the stellar play of Mustang goalie Beall, it was a great team effort, with Phillips, Shutler, and Derbyshire providing outstanding play up and down the field throughout the contest.
Newport defender Jordan Rausch led NHHS in a defensive effort that held THHS to less than half their season average; she not only scooped five ground balls and caused three turnovers, she also ran a clear through a team of riders, headed straight to cage, and netted a pretty shot. Rylie Siegfried took down six draw controls and scored two goals of her own. Next up, on Thursday, March 12: Trabuco travels to Los Alamitos and Newport hosts Aliso Niguel.
— Submitted by Trabuco Hills Girls Lacrosse and Matthew Armstrong