It was a physical game, to say the least, but Trabuco Hills managed to ward off a tough-as-nails Beckman team to claim an 8-6 nonleague victory Wednesday night.
Coming off a huge 12-8 victory over Servite in their season opener, the Mustangs were seeking to bag their second win of the year in a home game against Beckman. For the Patriots, this game served as their first of the season.
Even though Trabuco Hills packed an early punch by going up 3-0 in the first quarter, the Mustangs eventually began to falter and Coach Eric Bassett said it was actually the team’s offensive struggles that nearly lost them the game.
“We’re kind of known for our offense, but it was our offense that let us down tonight,” Bassett said. “I know that will never happen again, but there is no way that we can have that many turnovers.”
It was evident that Beckman’s relentless pressure and physicality threw Trabuco Hills off its rhythm. Luckily for the Mustangs, their defense was able to hold strong at all the right times, preventing the Patriots from building any sort of momentum.
In the second quarter, Beckman slowly began to claw its way back into the game after Patriot midfielder Ethan Edwards put his team on the board. However, the Mustangs were still able to match the Patriots goal for goal to maintain a 6-3 lead at the half.
Despite facing a considerable deficit, the Patriots’ scrappy but methodical offense continued to keep Trabuco Hills on its back foot during the second half. As tempers began to flare, Beckman picked up goals from Zack Carter and Gavin Dankert to pull within two entering the final period.
With the score now 7-5 in favor of Trabuco Hills, the fourth quarter featured more back-and-forth action. Beckman fought tooth and nail to at least take the game into overtime, but the Mustangs continued to hit timely shots.
Ultimately, Trabuco Hills escaped with a 8-6 victory but not without a few bumps and bruises. Bassett emphasized that the key to winning this game was outworking the opponent on every 50-50 play, especially down the stretch.
“I told them we had to fight,” Bassett said. “The only way we were going to win the game was if we won ground balls and won the 50-50 balls.”
Mustangs midfielder Tyler Payne did most of the heavy lifting on offense, scoring three times in the first quarter and sealing the deal in the fourth with his team’s final goal.
Bassett lauded Payne and attackman Holden Evans for their emergence as leaders this season. The veteran duo’s ability to score when needed and make good decisions under pressure has worked wonders for Trabuco Hills thus far.
On Wednesday, Beckman will be on the hunt for its first win when it takes on Yorba Linda, while Trabuco Hills looks to remain undefeated when it faces Santa Margarita.