No. 10 Tesoro travelled to no. 11 San Clemente on Wednesday night to renew what is perhaps the most hotly contested rivalry in Orange County last night. Prior to last night the two teams had played each nine times in the last four years. Six of those nine games were decided by a single goal and a South Coast League title was usually on the line. Wednesday night was no different. The Titans and the Tritons entered the game with identical 3-0 records. The Tritons won 7-6 to make it seven on-goal games in 10 tries and put themselves in the SCL driver’s with four league games left to play.
The action was intense from the first whistle to the last, and the defenses dominated for most of the game. Tesoro’ Ethan Patterson (15 saves) and San Clemente’s Austin Bowyer (Cleveland State) were both impressive between the pipes.
The two teams spent the first 12 minutes trading goals with Tesoro up 3-2 at the end of the first quarter. Braden King (2a) set up Jonathan Gibson (1g, 1a) early in to put Tesoro on the board first. The next 7 minutes were filled with plenty of offense from both teams, who displayed great passing and shot selections, but the goalies and relentless defense on both teams kept the game close until David Howren (3g) scored unassisted to tie the game 1-1. Soon after, both teams traded rapid fire goals, when Carson Spooner (1a) fed Brian Graves (1g, 1a) to put Tesoro ahead once more 2-1. Matt Keany (1g) finished a feed from Wakely Lush (1a) to tie the game at 2-2 followed by a singular effort by Cole Spooner (1g; 7/11 on face-offs) who took a clean face-off to the house unassisted, leaving Tesoro up 3-2 at the end of the quarter.
In the 2nd, Howren scored another tying goal to make it 3-3. Tesoro responded soon after when King fed Kelly O’Leary (1g) to go ahead 4-3. In the final minute, the Titans struck again with quick sticks King to Graves to Jason Moreta (1g). At the half, Tesoro led 5-3.
In the 3rd, and, despite Tesoro’s Ethan Patterson accumulating 15 saves in this game, only San Clemente got on the board. Howren scored his 3rd unassisted, making it 5-4. Nick Lemus (1g) unassisted goal tied the game 5-5 and with about 1 minute to play Branden Wilson (1g) scored an unassisted go-ahead goal to make it 5-6.
In the 4th quarter, both teams continued to trade great shots and play outstanding defense. About 4 minutes in, the Titan’s Gibson fed Graves to tie the game at 6-6. The mostly very clean game continued for another 4 minutes until Sander Lush (1g) scored the game winning goal for San Clemente. The opportunities remained open for both teams but when the clock buzzed, the score remained 6-7; San Clemente Tritons on top of the Tesoro Titans.
Next up No. 10 Tesoro (7-2; 3-1) travels to top ranked Corona del Mar (7-0) for a non-league game on . No. 11 San Clemente (5-4; 4-0) hosts No. 5 Great Oak (6-2) on Friday.