Less than a month ago, the El Toro Lady Chargers prevailed over the San Clemente Tritons with double-digit 17-12 win. The two teams met for a re-match Tuesday night and although the final score was almost the same, 18-10, the outcome was not. This time it was a Triton victory.
The defensive-minded Lady Tritons entered the game with a point to prove. A rising force in the Southern Section girls’ lacrosse, that is improving as the season progresses, the Tritons pride themselves on their ability to slow down event the best teams in the area. The 17 points that El Toro stood put on the board in their first game stood as a stark contrast to a San Clemente team that is allowing an average of only 10 goals per game.
“I felt the first time we played El Toro it was a major off game for us,” Said Head SC Coach Josh Cain. San Clemente was missing several key players due to injury. The Chargers took advantage in that one by playing one of their most golden games of the season.
With a second chance Tuesday night, the Tritons came back with a vengeance and the Chargers could not keep up. After a month of focused improvement on stick skills, transition, and draw control, the Tritons showed off their progress by racking up six unattested goals within the first quarter of the game. Senior Olivia Merlino, junior Ariana Petrikas, and junior Emily Twilegar led the offensive push. Fifteen minutes into the game, the score was 6-0.
El Toro defenders senior Stephanie Gong and junior Meckenzie Purcell played solid defense against the Tritons, preventing several crease rolls and eight meter shots. Charger Emily Lackey finally stopped the Triton shooting spree with a loud goal when the clock read 10:06 for the first half. Lackey, Gong, Purcell, and their teammtes continued fighting for the Chargers throughout the game.
San Clemente defense was equally vicious, denying the Chargers barely any shots on goal despite their many offensive possessions of the first half. Goalie Andrea Apodaca did well stepping up to a new starting role by making several key saves. Frustration set in by halftime for the Chargers, with the score at 8-2.
The Chargers were not able to cool the Triton heat as Merlino, Katelyn Miner, and others continued to score in the second half. The Chargers’ efforts were honorable, but the Tritons won multiple ground balls, draws, and turnovers to secure a San Clemente win 18-10.
The Tritons showed that within a month, a team can hit great levels of improvement.
After the big win, Coach Cain now looks to the future: “With only two seniors this year, we plan to build on what we did this year and hopefully be in the running for a league championship.”
The Tritons take on Mission Viejo on Thursday, which will be a game with important playoff implications. The Chargers seek a victory against Trabuco on Thursday.