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Varsity 5, Capo Valley 4

April 1, 2015

With it having been an entire week since their last game, the Trabuco Hills Girls Lacrosse Varsity had a calmness about them as they prepared for their South Coast League contest against the Cougars from Capistrano Valley. As both teams went through their warm-ups, it was difficult to foresee the battle that awaited them.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 10.26.05 AMOff of the opening draw, Capo Valley was able to control the ball and, after a drawn out offensive set, was awarded a free position, which they promptly converted for the game’s first goal. Shannon Smith was able to team up with Kendall Derbyshire on the next draw and set up the Mustang offense. A free position of their own allowed Taylor Fox to knot the score at 1.

On their next possession, the Mustangs went into attack mode. Jenelle Phillips eluded several Cougar defenders for a great scoring chance that rang off of the post, but the rebound went to Derbyshire who quickly beat the Capo Valley keeper to make it 2-1. Unfortunately, Trabuco Hills had in 4 early turnovers in the first 8 minutes of the game. Capo Valley tried to capitalize and, after a long offensive possession and a couple of quality scoring efforts turned away by Mustang Keeper Erin Beall, the Cougars were finally able to cash in to tie the score.

The Trabuco Hills defense was stout. It was evident that the Cougars were getting frustrated by not being able to penetrate the Mustang guardians. Kody Shelton stood out, leading the charge against a very organized and patient Cougar offense. When a Capo Valley attacker was actually able to get a shot through, Beall was rock solid. After finally regaining possession, Trabuco Hills pushed down the field; with a similarly determined defense, the Cougars were not giving ground easily and their keeper made several strong saves as well. Phillips was eventually able to weave through the Cougar defenders to give the Mustangs back the lead.

Then, on the following draw, a scrum ensued off to the side of the circle with sticks and ponytails flying everywhere, and Derbyshire broke free from the pack with the ball in her possession. Beating her defender in a footrace, Derbyshire cut across the crease and shot back against the grain, making it a 4-2 Mustang lead. Trabuco Hills was able to control the ball again, and there was a flurry of activity in front of the Capo Valley goal, including more shots off of the goal posts, but their keeper was up to the challenge and made several tough stops before the clock ran down on the first half.

After the break, both teams seemed content to slow down the pace of play in what was shaping up to be a defensive struggle. Phillips was finally able to ruffle the net nearly 4 minutes into the half with her 2nd goal off of a misdirection play — it was 5-2 Trabuco. Capo Valley’s discipline on offense allowed them to slow the pace of the game even further, with several set plays designed to create isolation opportunities for their two strongest players. Over the next 12 minutes the Cougars patiently tried to work their magic and managed two goals off of designed crease rolls, but they were repeatedly thwarted by the efforts of the stellar Mustang defense, with help from Madison DuMond and Becca Haggard, among others.

During the final 5 minutes — score 5-4, Trabuco — with one of the main playmakers for Capo Valley being unable to get past Shelton nor find an open player to pass to, her teammates could be heard exhorting her to “Go!”, and she yelled back to them, “I’m trying but I can’t!” That may have been the best summation of an amazing defensive stand that saw the Mustangs deny any further quality scoring chances.

A late free position awarded to Capo Valley was cause for the crowd to hold their collective breath, but Beall made the last of her 12 spectacular saves, controlling the rebound and sending the ball out for the Mustangs to run down the clock. A very satisfying 5-4 win for the Mustangs.

Record: 6-5; 2-1 South Coast League

Next: Thursday, at Tesoro

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