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Aliso Niguel 12, Varsity 10

March 23, 2015

As a beautiful Saturday morning unfolded over the stadium at Trabuco Hills High School, there was great anticipation as the Mustang Vasity prepared to lace them up against the perennial thorn-in-the-side squad from Aliso Niguel. Having experienced some memorable tilts between the two teams in recent years, the Mustangs looked to take the early edge in the South Coast League opener.

The Mustangs got off to an uncharacteristically sluggish start, allowing the Wolverines to race out to a 4-0 lead. Trabuco Hills was tentative in their play. Aliso Viejo was patient, aggressive to loose balls, and disciplined on offense sets, taking advantage of weak-side passes for wide open shots and weaving cutters to create opportunities from all sides. The Mustang’s 1st draw win resulted in a dropped pass right in front of the Wolverine net, one of 6 turnovers in the first half. Trabuco Hills was finally able to control the ball effectively after a shot off of the Mustang crossbar was recovered by Madison DuMond, who was able to get the outlet pass to Kendall Derbyshire, resulting in a strong run down the right side before finding Taylor Fox in the slot for the 1st Trabuco Hills goal.

The Wolverines continued to win draws and set up their offense: 3 more unanswered goals pushed the Aliso Viejo lead to 7-1. The momentum was temporarily stemmed when Jenelle Phillips was able to find DuMond with a pass into a crowded slot in front of the Wolverine net, which she promptly deposited behind the Aliso Viejo keeper. The Wolverine response was almost immediate, unfortunately, two more goals before halftime for a strong 9-2 lead.

After the break, The Wolverines continued their strong work in the midfield, taking advantage of a give-away after the draw and scoring off of a crease roll. With Shannon Smith inserted at center, the tide began to turn with the face-offs to the Mustangs.

Derbyshire was able to slice through the Wolverine defense to notch her 1st goal to give Trabuco Hills some life. Following a nice pick-and-roll score by Aliso Viejo, Phillips answered with a low scooting shot from a crowd in front of the Wolverine net. Another draw win, with Smith and Derbyshire proving to be an effective tandem on the circle, resulted in Phillips again finding DuMond in the slot for another quick goal. Another draw win taken by Derbyshire required a tough carry until she was able to locate DuMond in the open, who subsequently delivered a perfect strike to Becca Haggard for the Mustangs 6th goal. A Derbyshire tally off of a free position gave Trabuco Hills 4 unanswered goals and a real swing in momentum.

Finally winning a draw in the 2nd half, Aliso Viejo chose to slow things down by spreading out their offense and taking the energy away from the Trabuco Hills comeback effort. After a long, patient set, the Wolverines scored to push the margin back to 5. The Mustang defense was stiffening, however, led by key saves by keeper Erin Beall and solid performances by Kody Shelton, Hannah Moller, and Alyssa Ortega, limiting the quality scoring opportunities by the Aliso Viejo offense.

With Smith and Derbyshire teaming up again, the Mustangs were able to push the ball down the field with speed, resulting in Phillips scoring over the top of the Aliso goalie. The next possession saw patient work by the Mustang offense to find the right opening, which Derbyshire eventually exploited for her 3rd marker of the half. This was followed up by DuMond netting her 3rd off of an isolation play outside of the Wolverine arc.

Within 2 goals with almost 3 minutes left to play, it looked as if the Mustangs were prepared to complete their comeback before a late turnover gave possession to Aliso Viejo, who promptly went into stall mode. Although Trabuco Hills attempted to double team the ball carriers, the Wolverines played keep-away well enough to allow the clock to run out on a 12-10 defeat for the Mustangs.

Record: 4-5, 0-1 South Coast League
Next: Tuesday, hosting San Clemente

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