(Brandon Ross/MaxLaxOC)

Santa Ana- Ruben Santana’s six-goal performance was the difference in No. 13 Santiago’s  9-6 win over No. 8 Mater Dei on Monday.

With the win, the Sharks (2-2) have now won two games in a row. The Monarchs (1-2) are going in the opposite direction after  two straight losses to lower ranked teams, and are a team that is looking for answers after two tough defeats.

“We had opportunities to take this game by the horns,” said Mater Dei head coach Johnny Rodriguez. “Offensively, we left a lot on the board. It’s very hard to win when we’re dropping eight or nine opportunities in the crease.”

It was a quiet first half offensively for both teams who had a hard time moving the ball. After a 2-1 Santiago advantage after the first frame, each squad traded one goal apiece to go into the half with the Sharks up 3-2.

Ruben Santana (center) was the star of the game with five of his six goals scored in the second half of Santiago’s 9-6 win over Mater Dei (Brandon Ross/MaxLaxOC).

Santiago outscored Mater Dei 3-2 both the third and fourth quarter, resulting in the 9-6 win for the Sharks.

In addition to  Santana’s six-goal performance, the Sharks also received offensive contributions from Gabe Benso (3A), Ryan Richardson (2G) and John Plys (1G, 1A). Logan Yost had a solid performance between the pipes for Santiago with eight saves and only six goals allowed.

Sean Waterman had three points (1G, 2A) in Mater Dei’s 9-6 loss over Santiago (Brandon Ross/MaxLaxOC).

Sean Waterman (1G, 2A) was the Monarchs’ top offensive performer, and was also close on four shots that hit the pipes. Jack Brennan (2G), Aedan Frazier (1G, 1A), Zach Torres (1G) and Ryan Ucker (1G) rounded out Mater Dei’s inconsistent offensive output.

After the game, Rodriguez was visually upset with his teams performance and is looking for his seniors and leaders to lead and step up, as well as some emotion from his guys.

“The biggest thing is these guys’ hearts and they need to want it and right now they don’t want it” Rodriguez said. “We came out flat [Monday] after a triple overtime loss [Friday]. A lot of preparation went into this one and we need guys to step up and be the seniors they are, the leaders they are and need to be and buy into this stuff. This is lacrosse. For them to not show up and have their hearts in it, something needs to change. I don’t think I felt a bit of emotion on the sideline before the game.”

The Monarchs will look to get back into the win column on Saturday (originally scheduled for Friday) when they match up with Trabuco Hills (2-0). Meanwhile, the Sharks hit the road Wednesday with a match against Vista Murrieta (1-0).

“[We] could be a top ten team if we just click,” Rodriguez said. “We haven’t clicked yet.”

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