In a tale of two halves, the Santa Margarita Eagles outscored the Tesoro Titans 6-1 in the second half to complete an 11-10 comeback victory.
Santa Margarita and Tesoro kicked off a week of marquee Top 10 match ups in dramatic fashion. Santa Margarita held a lead for only three minutes in the game but it was the three minutes that mattered most. Hayden Ruiz (3g, 1a) found Andrew Kofoed (1g) open cross crease with 2:58 left in the to give the Eagles their only lead of the game at 11-10. The Eagles then held on to secure the victory.
Santa Margarita, which struggled through lopsided losses to Poway and Cathedral Catholic, looked like they were headed for their third consecutive blowout loss in the early going. The Titans jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead on two goals by Jake Douglas (3g for the game) and Chase Warner (2g, 1a) in the first five minutes of the game.
Connor Murphy (1g) slowed the bleeding by putting the Eagles on the board at 3:39 of the the first quarter. The two rivals then started trading blows like it was an Ali-Frazier heavyweight title bout (Google it, kids). The Eagles would close the gap to one and the Titans would score to pad the lead back to two. And so it went until two minutes were left in the half when Warner scored his second goal and Sage Devault finished a pass from Ryan Boyle to give the Titans a 9-5 lead and all the momentum at halftime.
The second half belonged to SM’s Michael Senecal, Wes Schuler, and Ruiz. Senecal jump started the comeback when caused a turnover, picked up the ground ball, and then scored to start the second half. He then found an open Doc Dochterman to make it a 9-7 game before Devault scored his second goal of the evening to close out the third quarter 10-7 in favor of the Titans.
Ruiz started the fourth quarter comeback with a manup rip with 10:32 left in the game to make it 10-8. Then it was the Wes Schuler show for a few minutes. Schuler built on the momentum with a bounce shot from about 8 yards out to make it 10-9, and then tied the game by crashing through the Tesoro defense and finishing on the crease. It was the first time since 0-0 that the Eagles were not behind. At just under three minutes to go Ruiz found Kofoed cross crease for the go-ahead goal. The Titans had one last chance with 40 seconds to go when the Eagles stepped out of the box, but they could not capitalize.
There will be no rest for the weary as the 4-2 Eagles get ready to host #1 CdM on Saturday. Tesoro is now 2-2 and will play Trabuco Hills on Thursday.
–MaxLaxOC.com staff report