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Varsity 10, Yorba Linda 8

April 27, 2013

The Battle of the Mustangs. Trabuco Hills vs. Yorba Linda.  There just had to be some interesting plot lines, right?  This one did not disappoint.

 Coming off of their most heart-breaking loss of the year, the Ladies from Trabuco Hills took the field with a lot of anticipation.  After a wonderful celebration of graduating seniors – Hannah Redwine, Hope Dodd, Megan McIntyre, Niki Neely, Kelsey Tapia, Alex Miller, and Becca Ransom will all be moving on to their various college choices – the waves of good feelings were redirected to the business at hand; beating Yorba Linda and finishing the regular season on a positive note.

Early on, neither team was overly aggressive, being content to play a methodical game of cat and mouse to see who would make a mistake.  Both sides had opportunities, but nearly 9 minutes elapsed off of the clock before the Red Mustangs could finally solve goalie Cyrena Malkowski.  On the next possession, the Blue Mustangs turned the tables when Hope Dodd was able to return the favor on the other end of the field.  Both keepers were really playing well, trading save for save. 

After Trabuco Hills was able to slow things down and set up camp in the Yorba Linda end, several passes surrounded the Red Mustang net before Hannah Redwine was able to maneuver through traffic and slip a crafty low shot into the corner.  Winning the next draw, the Blue Mustangs again drove down through a determined defense.  The ball touched a lot of sticks as a scrum ensued, finally finding its way into Dodd’s stick, which she promptly redirected into the back of the net. 

The slow pace continued, partially due to the continuing issue of miscues with the passing game, but Trabuco Hills persevered.  A late possession saw Alex Miller deliver an impressive pass the Redwine right in the slot; Redwine twisted and contorted before a nice finish would push the Blue Mustang lead to 4-1.  As the clock ran down, it was apparent that Trabuco Hills had pressed the attack more so than Yorba Linda as the half wore on and, in spite of the dropped passes and misplayed ground balls, their determination was winning out so far.  Miller and Redwine seemed to be everywhere the ball was, and Niki Neely was a dangerous presence throughout the entire field.   

Yorba Linda opened the 2nd half with an offensive surge that put Trabuco Hills momentarily on their heels.  A wave of attackers culminated in an impressive jump shot over Malkowski to reopen the scoring. 

The Blue Mustangs responded immediately, with Miller and Neely and Becca Ransom showing good teamwork on the defensive end.  Malkowski was still sharp in goal, and a break-out after another big save sent her teammates down the field.  Yorba Linda also picked up their defense, albeit more from a physical standpoint, but Trabuco Hills was able to break through after Dodd got banged around but still managed to find Megan McIntyre for a wide open shot and score.  Jenelle Phillips followed up with a goal off of a free position, then continued her solid play with an assist on a nifty goal by Melanie Leong, which stretched the lead to 5. 

A couple of quick scores narrowed the margin before Dodd scored off of a beautiful give-and-go with McIntyre.  Momentum was with Yorba Linda, however, in large part due to the fact that Trabuco Hills started losing every draw again, a frustrating pattern; most of the losses were in the battles for loose balls, but resulted in almost continuous pressure from the Red Mustang attackers.  3 more unanswered goals brought the Trabuco Hills lead down to 1, and it was impossible to ignore the ghosts from the night before from a tough overtime loss vs. Tesoro.

An outstanding defensive play prevented the next attack after McIntyre tipped a pass and Neely controlled the ball and carried it all the way down the field to turn the tide.  Soon Kendall Derbyshire broke free and scored to give the Blue Mustangs a little breathing room.  But Yorba Linda would not go away, again pulling to within 1 with a tenacious charge.  On the next draw – a very key one – there was a scramble which seemed to move in slow motion, everyone holding their proverbial breath to see who would come out with it.  Miller eventually controlled the ball and secured it with a tough cradle.  With Trabuco Hills spreading the field in the offensive zone, Dodd eventually found a gap and broke in on the Yorba Linda keeper to bury her 4th goal of the night, a back-breaker.  The Red Mustangs were unable to recover and time finally ran out on them.  An emotional victory for the Blue Mustangs, to be sure, and a feeling of redemption that might make the difference when playoffs open next week.

Record: 11-5-2, 5-3 South Coast

Next event: OC US Lacrosse championship tournament, starts Tuesday



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