Trabuco Hills Girls Lacrosse took command of the South Coast League race with a 13-8 win Thursday at home against the defending league champs, Tesoro¹s Titans.
The Titans took control of the game early and kept the Mustangs off balance. The Mustangs could not settle down play on the field and were in constant pursuit of the Titan attack. After nearly 3 minutes of play the Titans scored to take a 1-0 lead. The Mustangs quickly rallied behind a Marina Sandoval goal from a free position. This proved to be the spark that would ignite the Mustangs as they began to press the Titans in the middle of the field.
Mustangs Madison Dumond and Jackie Huse led the defense by forcing turnovers and winning contested ground balls. Dumond scored the go-ahead goal on a free position shot and the Mustangs started to hit their stride. Four more unanswered goals put the Mustangs ahead at 6-1 with 10 minutes left in the half. Mustang Erin Beall making her first varsity start in goal in place of the injured Cyrena Malkowski proved to be a difference maker with 8 first-half saves. At half, the Mustangs were in the lead, 10-4.
The second half marked a dramatic shift in momentum. The Titans changed gears and began aggressively attacking and marking the Mustang squad. The fatigued Mustang defense could not overcome the pressure and suddenly the score was 10-7 with 10 minutes left in the game. The Mustangs rallied and started to win balls in the middle of the field from the tough play of Kendall Derbyshire and Hannah Moller.
The Mustang attack slowed the pace of the game down with short accurate passing and waited for an opportunity. Patience paid off and Melanie Leong and Jenelle Phillips both scored on free position shots to increase the lead. However, the Titans did not waver from their pressing attack. They scored again to come within 4 of the lead, but another Phillips goal put the game out of reach.
The Mustangs (11-1) are now atop the South Coast with a 3-0 league mark. Tesoro is 5-2, 2-2 South Coast. Other South Coast records: Mission Viejo 2-2; San Clemente 1-2; El Toro 0-2.
Next for the Mustangs is hosting El Toro in a South Coast match Tuesday. Tesoro’s next game is April 15, hosting St. Margaret’s.