Thursday night was Big Game Thursday for most of Orange County but especially for the South Coast League with the championship hanging in the balance. The Cougars of Capistrano Valley (0-5) traveled to the home field of the Mustangs of Trabuco Hills (5-1) looking to play the role of spoiler. A win by Trabuco would lock up at least a co-championship for the Mustangs who came into the game red hot and undefeated at home this season.
The Mustangs wasted no time in demonstrating their resolve with Andrew Blume (2g, 4a) found the net on their first two possessions and the Mustangs jump out to a 2-0 lead. After a nice interception from Scott Barger (2g, 1a, Towson) the Mustangsadded another point on a sweet wrap around shot from Billy Barron (1g, 1a). The Cougars taking advantage of a Trabuco turnover get an unassisted goal from Blake Berk (2g, MIT) to tighten things up at 3-1 early in the first quarter. The Mustangs answered quickly though when Barger found Wyatt Koudelka (3g, 1a) open on the crease to put the Mustangs up 4-1.
Capo Valley looked as if they intended to fulfill their spoiler role and it was game on when they come right back and scored on a nice low to high rip from Drew Casas (1g) to cut Mustangs’ lead to 4-2 . Once again, the Mustangs came right back. Face off specialist Howie Gundy (83%) grabbed one of his 20 face off wins to give Trabuco Hills possession and Jake Marthens ( 5g, 2a) tood advantage to score his first goal of the night on an assist from Harrison Evans (1a) and the first quarter ended with Trabuco Hills in front 5-2.
The Mustangs opened up the second quarter with a goal from John Kauo (3g) on an assist from Blume. Perhaps feeling some angst from that No. 15 vote, the Mustangs rattled off seven unanswered goals in the second period. They got three from Marthens, two from Barger, two from Kauo and one each from Koudelka and Troy Fenner (1g). When the dust had settled the Mustangs were sitting on a commanding 12-2 advantage. Berk disrupted the Trabuco momentum when he got his second of the night on a feed from Cameron Lopez (1a) to give the Mustangs a 14-3 lead at the intermission.
Not yet satisfied, the Mustangs added to their lead in the third quarter with goals from Kauo and Marthens (his fifth). Capo Valley’s Matt Blethen (1g) was the next to find twine when he wrapped around the right side for the Cougars final point of the contest. To finish off the scoring Trabuco’s Koudelka got his third goal of the night and the Mustangs finished off the Cougars 17-4.
This win combined with Alison Niguel’s takedown of San Clemente brings the Mustangs their first ever South Coast League Championship. It is also worthy to note that this win gives Trabuco Hills Coach Johnny Rodriguez win #21 for his career making him the winningest coach in Trabuco Hills history.
Next up: The Mustangs (13-2, 6-1) travel to Tesoro (5-10, 4-3) for their final league match up on Tuesday, and finish off the regular season at home against El Toro on Friday. Capo (3-10; 0-6) travels to San Clemente (6-8; 3-3) on Tuesday and Aliso Niguel (9-6; 4-3) on Friday.