San Juan Capistrano, March 27 – St. Margaret’s started strong, stayed strong, and finished strong against rival Santa Margarita. The two teams have been trading wins every year since 2013, and Tuesday’s matchup kept the pattern alive. Coming off the 2017 loss, St. Margaret’s had pride on the line and delivered for fifty minutes.

After winning the opening possession, Tartan senior Cailin Young drove from a flip pass, wound up, and netted a powerful shot. The home team did not look back. Within five minutes, the lead was 4-0 and, with sophomore Campbell Case getting two (one off a free position assist from senior Kinsale Hueston), and Jordan Miles adding one more (from junior Maddie Barkate).

Santa Margarita called a timeout to adjust, and senior Victoria Hoffman came out with a few very tough saves to keep her team close. But it was to no avail, as J. Miles made an expert read, intercepted a clearing pass, and stuffed the shot for a five-goal lead. Case then earned her hat trick with a question mark dodge and shot.

Santa Margarita senior Sidney Ruiz stopped the bleeding when she found a momentary soft spot in the Tartan D, cut up for the feed from junior Katelyn Murphy, and finished the nifty shot to chip one away from the lead.

The Eagle offense came into the game having scored 37 goals in its last two games, and their offense cycled dynamically for a few possessions. They also showed off an intense ride that forced a couple turnovers. But the home team defended valiantly, maintaining control over their own 8M area. Meanwhile, the Tartan attack went to work, with a free position feed from Case to Barkate who followed with a free position shot and goal to close the half.

Tartans lead 9-1 at half.

St. Margaret’s managed the clock expertly through the second half, but the game never lost its edge and intensity was high throughout. St. Margaret’s opened the scoring when junior Niki Miles make a great defensive read and interception and moved the ball through two teammates to junior Megan Vandenburg, who put her team into double digits. Barkate scored another transition goal moments later.

The clock moved from running to stopped time almost immediately after Ruiz scored a free position. The teams went back and forth a bit, with Young finishing a draw and dump from Case and following with another on the next offensive set. Santa Margarita’s Murphy scored a sweet transition goal off a nice dodge to shake a double. N. Miles finished a 30-yard drive for the Tartans and Young followed with a quick-stick off a 25-yard pass from Case. Murphy answered with another transition goal. And to polish it off, Barkate scored in the final moments.

And just like that, St. Margaret’s showed why they deserve the top spot.

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