San Clemente entered the season with a chip on its shoulder having come up short numerous times last year against top-ranked teams. On Saturday morning, the No. 7 Tritons (2-0) traveled to perennial Los Angeles powerhouse Palos Verdes (0-1) and notched the kind of win that eluded it last year, going toe-to-toe with the Sea Kings and emerging with an impressive 10-8 victory on a picturesque morning on the LA coast.
The Tritons defense withstood a withering first-quarter offense as PV took 14 shots but only got three through thanks to outstanding net-minding from sophomore goalie Austin Boyer who had five important saves in the quarter. PV did take a 3-2 lead behind a pair of Stanton Gilbertson goals (4 for the game), but Collin Zines and Austin Streeter scored to keep it close. The Tritons then started to get going on offense, taking a 5-3 lead behind goals from freshman Eric Zoe, Peyton Garrett and Austin Lickley. Attackman Dylan Egan scored twice on close-range shots for PV to even the game at 5-5 at halftime.
The third quarter was all San Clemente, as the defense led by seniors Stone Sims, Nick Shippy and Taylor Dodd, along with junior Max Lepley, sophomores Caleb Bozarth and Ryan Crawford and keeper Boyer helped frustrate the Sea Kings who were able to only muster five shots–Boyer notching three saves–while the Tritons offense got on track. After scoring a pair to go up 7-5 on goals by Jack Renard (assist Zines) and Zines (assist Lickley), SC’s Garrett was flagged for an unreleasable one-minute equipment foul. With the Sea Kings on the extra man advantage, momentum seemed to be changing. PV’s sensational middie/attackman Rizal Smith (dominated face offs all day and scored one goal) took a shot that Boyer deflected away, and following a scrum, sophomore defenseman Bozarth scooped the ground ball off the crease, broke out and sprinted downfield on a fast break. The PV defense sunk back, allowing Bozarth to go coast-to-coast, and the impressive defenseman took the opportunity and blasted a shot past PV’s goalie for a big, man-down goal and 8-5 lead. Garrett (2 goals, 1 assist) scored soon after off a great back-side feed from Lickley and the Tritons were up 9-5 entering the fourth.
A program as storied as PV doesn’t lay down on its home field, and today was certainly no different. The Sea Kings scored the next three goals–two by Gilbertson and one by Egan–and with less than four minutes to play the game was up for grabs. But the Tritons refused to yield, as Zines (2 goals, 2 assists) found Streeter (2 goals, 1 assist) curling up from behind the cage, and the Bellarmine-bound senior rifled a shot into the back of the cage for the final 10-8 score.
Boyer finished with 13 saves while facing 35 shots.