Trabuco Hills Girls Lacrosse ran its season-opening win streak to four with a 10-9 win in a highly anticipated matchup at Newport Harbor Thursday. Both teams were looking to keep perfect records intact, and if recent history were any history, this game would go down to the wire. The two teams were facing each other for the third time in two months, with one goal being the margin between victory and defeat in both of those games.
The Mustangs had scored 50 goals in their previous three games and smothered their opponents with an aggressive and physical defense. The Newport Harbor Lady Sailors would present an entirely new challenge for the Mustangs. The game started with both teams challenging the goal, but without a score. The Lady Mustangs quickly found the Sailors to have a similar style of offense — controlling the ball around the goal with high percentage passes and patient discipline as they waited for the Mustangs to make a mistake.
Mustang Hannah Moller presented a tough obstacle in protecting the Mustang crease as the Sailor offense tried to work from behind the goal. Mustang defenders Brittany Tran and Rachel Gillet worked at a frenetic pace virtually taking away passes in front of the goal which forced the Sailors to pass around the perimeter. The Sailors’ patience paid off and they broke through around the 22-minute mark scoring first. After the draw, both teams again took shots with little success. The Sailors began to control the clock as they continued their perimeter passing, waiting for an opening. For nearly 10 minutes the Mustang defense held off the Sailor attack. Finally, the Mustangs were able to force a mistake on the Sailor offense, thwarting a potential breakaway and fed the ball to Marina Sandoval. Sandoval’s shot cruised past the Sailor goalie at the 13:40 mark to even the score to 1-1.
The Sailors fell back into their offense and began to wear down the Mustang defense. They scored back-to-back goals and appeared to be slowly taking over the momentum. The Sailors were also having success on the defensive end of the field led by Mia Bagiu until Mustang Jenelle Phillips scored the first of her four goals on the night from a free position shot to come within one goal of the lead. Mustang assists from Jackie Huse and Melanie Leong brought in two more Jenelle Phillips’ goals to give the Mustangs the lead at 4-3 with one minute of play left. Trabuco goalie Cyrena Malkowski made a spectacular save from a free position shot to close out the half and keep the Mustangs on top.
The second half opened with both teams trading goal for goal. The Mustang defense stayed tough and battled the Sailors with physical play from Trabuco’s Samantha Ransom and Cheyenne Ochoa. Madison Dumond helped feed the Mustang attackers with three takeaways in the second half. This proved to be a big difference in the game as the Mustangs won six ground balls and had eight takeaways demonstrating their continued tenacity against the controlled attack of the Sailors. The Sailors held the ball for long periods, but were unable to capitalize on their drives. Jackie Huse and Melanie Leong took over in the second half and were a part of five of the six Mustang goals. With just under six minutes of play left in the game, the Mustangs took the lead off a Huse goal from the crease. They quickly regained control of the ball and held on for the final 5 minutes and 40 seconds.
Alex Palmer had a stellar night for the Sailors, booking four goals and an assist. The Sailor defense held the prolific Trabuco attack to six under its average. With three games decided by three goals in the last month, a new rivalry is taking shape.
Up next: The Mustangs (4-0) play in the OC/LA Lacrosse tournament on Saturday at Laguna Hills High School, and Newport travels to El Toro on March 17.
–Special to MaxLaxOC.com