San Clemente raced out to 6-0 first quarter lead then held off a late Santa Margarita rally to take a 14-11 home quarterfinal playoff win. The No. 4 seeded Tritons (16-4) will face No. 1 seed Foothill on Saturday in the US Lacrosse Orange County semifinals. The Knights and Tritons battled to a memorable finale earlier this season, with Foothill erasing an 8-5 halftime deficit to win 17-16. That game will take place Saturday, May 10, at Laguna Hills HS.
The fifth-seeded Eagles wrapped up their first season under new head coach Adam Guy with an impressive 12-7 mark.
Collin Zines (1 goal, 3 assists) got things started for San Clemente just 34 seconds into the game, igniting the Tritons’ early scoring barrage. Peyton Garrett (2 goals, 2 assists) scored on a long bounce shot off a Zines feed, Jack Renard (4 goals) then scored before Garrett added his second. Defenseman Stone Sims ran coast-to-coast for San Clemente’s fifth goal, then Austin Lickley added a score for the 6-0 lead.
SM answered when Zach Taylor put the Eagles on the board, but Austin Streeter (4 goals) and Torin Alm stretched SC’s lead. With just 6 seconds left in the half, Taylor scored again, this time firing home from in close on a nice feed from Nico Houser (2 goals, 1 assist). With momentum entering the break the Eagles opened the second half scoring on a goal from Konnor Bremer. The teams then traded goals until late in the fourth quarter (SM’s Wes Schuler scoring a pair offset by a pair of snipes by Renard and three scores by Streeter), when SC was tagged with a two-minute unreleasable penalty with 1:44 to play but leading 14-8. SM’s Hayden Ruiz (3 goals, 2 assists) scored twice before assisting Chris Angelich with just 6 seconds left in the game and SC held on 14-11.
The faceoff battle was even, as SC’s Will Bozarth won 11 of 23 draws against his counterpart, Billy Sencal. SM’s fine LSM Ravi Dhouni had a big night with three takeaways, while SC’s Caleb Bozarth led the Triton defense with 3 ground balls and 3 clears.
San Clemente sophomore goalie Austin Boyer made 8 saves while facing 29 shots; SM’s Max Vought made 7 saves while facing 37 shots.
–MaxLaxOC.com staff report