Story courtesy of Steve Breazeale, San Clemente Times
San Clemente sophomore Matt Keany saw a sliver of an opening in the Tesoro boys lacrosse defense in sudden death overtime, with a chance to score and send his team into the second round of the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division playoffs on May 5.
The Tesoro zone defense had done well to limit the Tritons attack in the second half, but just minutes into overtime, Keany sent home a shot that secured an 8-7 victory for San Clemente and a second-round matchup with No. 2 Corona del Mar on May 7.
“I just saw the defense was shifting off a little bit, I saw a little bit of room and I just kind of hitched and went inside and let it go,” Keany said.
The goal was Keany’s third of the night.
Tesoro looked to take control of the game in overtime when their efficient faceoff man Cole Spooner, who had dominated the circle all night, won the faceoff and the Titans immediately called timeout.
Tesoro tried to pass across the point out of the timeout but San Clemente midfielder Ryan Crawford intercepted the pass, drove down the field and set up Keany’s game-winning shot.
“I was debating on calling a timeout but we got the right personnel on the field right away so I just kind of let them play it out a bit unsettled. And (Keany) capitalized, it was a great shot,” Tritons head coach Brad Reppert said.
The two teams became very familiar with each other over the course of the season. The Tritons won both South Coast League games against the Titans by a combined score of 15-11, including a narrow 8-7 victory four days earlier on May 1 that mirrored the same outcome of the playoff game to come.
Tesoro took its first lead of the game one minute into the fourth quarter when Blake Warner scored from behind the net to make it 6-5.
The Tritons Jack Renard scored six minutes later and Tesoro responded in kind when Jason Moreta bounced off of a San Clemente defender near the net, spun and scored to bring it to 7-6.
After both teams committed turnovers on their next possession, San Clemente’s Brandon Wilson corralled a pass from Keany on the left side and scored with two minutes left to end regulation.
Tesoro scored twice and San Clemente scored once in the final 56 seconds before halftime, giving the Tritons a 4-3 lead.
The Tritons will have their hands full in the second round when they travel to play the No. 2 seed Corona del Mar on May 7. The Sea Kings defeated San Clemente 20-3 on March 14.