Summer came early Saturday afternoon with warm on field conditions for No. 1 St. Margarets and No. 4 Santa Margarita, but that did not stop the Tartans from pulling off a gritty 8-6 win over the Eagles in a tight defensive battle. This is the second year in a row the Eagles season has ended in the hands of the Tartans, but this time it was in the semifinals at Segerstrom High School.
Quentin Buchman started the Eagles off in the first quarter with an unassisted netter, and the game remained 1-0 in favor of the Eagles until 24 seconds left in the frame when Tomas Anderson tied the game up at one aside going into the second quarter. Michael Walsh gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead to start the second, but two unanswered goals by St. Margarets gave the Tartans a tight 3-2 lead going into halftime.
Nicholas Parrino started the Eagles off in the third with an assisted goal from Buchman to tie the game at three apiece. However, Kevin Groeninger responded right back with his second goal of the game and after one more back and forth goal trading session from both teams, the Tartans ended the third quarter up 5-4.
“[Groeninger] is just a great player he has a lot of pressure on him and is the focus of the other teams defensive gameplan,” said St. Margarets head coach Glen Miles. “He’s still getting in his contribution, his points to help us be successful on offense.”
Tyler Wrigtson notched his second goal of the game to tie it right back up at five, and Ryan Williams gave Santa Margarita a 6-5 lead with 7:23 left in the final frame. FOGO Stuart Pollard and Garrett Kuntz got two quick ones back and took a 7-6 lead.
The Eagles had the ball for the final seconds of the game, but could not cash in after two close shots by Walsh did not go through the net. As a result, Nico Vorzimer, who was in net at the time for the Tartans, blasted a shot down the field as time expired to put the final dagger on the game, and an end to the Eagles impressive season.
“I’m just proud of them,” said Santa Margarita head coach Adam Guy. “Good kids. We had an opportunity at the end. Sometimes it just doesn’t roll your way.”
Offensively for the Tartans, Anderson (3g), Groeninger (2g), Pollard (1g), Vorzimer (1g), and Trevor Peay (1g) all got goals for St. Margarets. The biggest takeaway for the Tartans Saturday was how well they played at the dot, winning 12 of 16 faceoffs collectively with Pollard and Chris Totah.
“[Pollard] and [Totah] did an outstanding job,” Miles said. “It is a little bit of a one-two punch, each of them have their strengths so depending on what the other team shows us, we can sometimes counter it. We’ve been able to so far.”
Wrightson (2g), Buchman (1g, 1a), Williams (1g, 1a), Walsh (1g), and Parrino (1g) all had points for the Eagles offense. Ryan Olsker had a great game in net for Santa Margarita with 10 saves.
The Tartans await the winner of tonights matchup between No. 3 Tesoro and No. 2 Foothill for the OC Championship game at Irvine High School Wednesday night.