SAN CLEMENTE- Senior captain and defenseman Hayden Rodenbeck came up with three goals on a chilly and wet May evening in Southern Orange County to help the No. 10 Servite Friars overcome a three-goal halftime deficit and snatch a bracket shaking upset over No. 7 San Clemente on Tuesday.
Many long poles don’t score three goals in a career let alone in a game. Rodenbeck pulled off the feat for the third time this season. His ability to run transition and stop goals at one end of the field while scoring on the other has been a big factor in Servite’s late-season surge, and last night was no exception.
It was a defensive start on both sides in the first quarter with the Tritons taking a slim 2-1 lead into the second quarter. San Clemente’s offense started to gel in the second quarter and threatened to pull away with a five-goal frame. However, Rodenbeck scored his first two goals to help keep the Friars in the game with only a 7-4 deficit at the half.
While there was still a half to go, things were starting to look bleak for Servite especially on the offensive end, but they came out in the second half with a different mindset.
“We were just trying to get back to basics,” said Servite head coach Tom O’Leary. “Transition wise, we just had to get back to basics and go back to six on six offense.”
Both sides of the ball stepped up for the Friars in the third quarter. While the defense locked down, the Friars scored three late goals to tie the game at seven a side off Zach Williams‘ two goals and Hayden Rodenbeck‘s third.
Rodenbeck knew what to expect from the Tritons defense coming into the game.
“[San Clemente] was a little bit weaker on the inside, so our game plan was to try to stretch them out, take them down the alley, and look for the inside looks,” Rodenbeck said. “It was there most of the time.”
Liam Nelson brought the Tritons back up 8-7 with an early fourth quarter goal, but Brian Rusnak soon followed with an unassisted netter to tie the game back up at eight. As the final frame was beginning to wind down and the Friars with possession, Alex Paz fed a beautiful pass in transition to Jack Terrones for the game-winner with 2:48 remaining in the game.
“We were just working the middle,” O’Leary said. “[San Clemente] were switching us off and we just tried to pull those guys out and just sneak one backside cutter, and Terrones is a good finisher so we were glad to have him in that situation.”
Offensively for the Friars, Rodenbeck led the team with three goals and Williams (2 goals, 1 assist) had a three-point performance as well. Terrones (2g), Cole Brennan (1g, 1a), Ruznak (1g), Paz (1a), and Carter Bays (1a) all put up points for Servite. Defensively, ground balls were a major key in the Friars win with Rodenbeck picking up 12 ground balls and Jack Seals had five ground balls and a mammoth four caused turnovers.
“Whoever controls the middle of the field get’s the most ground balls and is usually doing better,” Rodenbeck said. “Jack [Seals] is a phenomenal player and I’m going to miss playing with him the next four years, and he’s definitely a big part of the team.”
Nelson (3g), Trevor Sutton (3g), Jake Brannon (2g, 1a), and Jack Rogers (2a) all contributed offensively for San Clemente. Eugene Kang had another extremely impressive night with 16 saves between the pipes.
As a result of Tuesday’s win, Servite will travel to No. 2 Foothill to take on the Knights in the quarterfinals on Thursday.