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Varsity 8, El Toro 7 (OT)

April 19, 2013

The final meeting of the year between arch rival El Toro and Trabuco Hills took place on the turf at Trabuco Stadium on Thursday evening.

EL TORO LOGOIn what had become a pretty lop-sided match-up – El Toro had won the last seven meetings in a row, including a frustrating 13-9 loss earlier this season – the Varsity teams took the field looking to keep hopes alive for a berth in the upcoming CIF play-offs.

As play opened, both squads seemed tight. A lot of possession time in both offensive zones went unrewarded, and the Mustangs were their own worst enemy with a bad case of the “dropsies,” resulting in a number of unforced turnovers. After over 5 minutes of futility, El Toro was finally able to break the drought to take a not-so-early lead. On the following possession, a breakdown in the Trabuco Hills midfield led to a quick second goal, and memories of the previous contest started to creep back into the mind. Kendall Derbyshire erased those thoughts momentarily with a quick burst of speed that put her in on goal for an unobstructed shot to close the gap to one. Good midfield pressure ensued and the Mustangs seemed to be back on their game. But El Toro would answer quickly to make it 3-1, then a costly turnover led to a foul in the open field; leaving the slot wide open in front of Cyrena Malkowski’s goal, the Chargers took advantage to stretch their lead to three.

After a time-out, the Mustangs continued playing out-of-synch, mishandling numerous balls and not connecting on their passes. Finally settling things down, Trabuco Hills was able to establish an extended offensive sequence around the Charger net which lasted nearly 2 minutes; Janelle Phillips eventually found a seam in the defense and scored to get the Mustangs offense moving again. Soon after, Alex Miller was the recipient of a loose ball after a frantic scramble in front of the El Toro net and slipped in a quick shot to, again, narrow the deficit to one. Play would continue to ebb and flow, with lots of back and forth action and tough battle being fought all over the field. Hope Dodd was finally able to break free and beat the Charger goalie to tie the score at 4-4, the Mustangs having battled back with 3 unanswered goals before halftime.

The second half started out much like the first, with the Chargers taking a slow methodical approach to the game after the furious pace set in the last 8 minutes of that first half. After 4½ minutes of patiently passing the ball and staying on the perimeter, El Toro seemed to wear down the Trabuco Hills defenders and retook the lead. Becca Ransom, back from an ankle injury, had started off the game somewhat tentatively, but after getting her ankle re-taped she began to get back into the flow of the game and seemed back to full speed by halftime; a great play by Ransom to knock down a perfect feed in front of the Mustang net seemed to reawaken her teammates and their determination. Another long period of time – 6 minutes – ticked off the clock before Marina Sandoval was finally able to solve the El Toro net minder, who had turned away several quality Mustang shot attempts, to tie the game at 6. Sloppy passing by both teams was starting to limit scoring opportunities, but both goalies were definitely on their game. The contest was turning into a track meet, with both squads running up and down the field and reversing turnovers the other way.

After yet another 6 minutes had passed. El Toro was able to slip a shot past Malkowski to take the lead again, and then followed that up with another score to stretch their advantage out to 2. The gritty Mustangs would not give up. Megan McIntyre scored to give the team hope, and then Derbyshire, with time running down, found a way to get the ball behind the El Toro goalie and the score was tied! For the second week in a row, a game was going into overtime.

The 1st overtime pace slowed down once again, but this time in the Mustangs favor. A yellow card against the Chargers left Trabuco Hills with an advantage, and they were finally able to capitalize when Dodd squirted free to net her 2nd goal of the game. There were not many other opportunities for either team during the remainder of the 1st OT, and after switching ends for the 2nd OT the Chargers started exhibiting uncharacteristic desperation. The Mustangs were able to withstand the push, however, and Trabuco Hills was able to come away with a very gratifying 8-7 victory, their first over the Chargers since 2008.

Record: 9-4-2, 4-2 South Coast

Next game: Tuesday at San Clemente

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