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Varsity 17, San Juan Hills 7

May 3, 2015


It was a beautiful, balmy evening at Trabuco Hills stadium as the Mustangs prepared for their season finale against the visiting San Juan Hills Stallions.

It was also a night for Trabuco Hills Girls Lacrosse Varsity to honor the graduating seniors who have been such a big part of the program and are preparing to wrap up their high school careers. With a larger-than-normal crowd on hand, which included alumni, parents of former players, and extended family and friends, as well as photographers at the ready to snap memories of the players and their families, it was almost easy to forget about the contest that lay ahead.

After a terrific time of recognition for the senior players — flowers, tiaras, and loved ones surrounding them — the Mustangs took the field with just a minimal amount of warm-up time under their proverbial belts. In keeping with the theme of the evening, Coach Scott Leong trotted out an all-senior line-up onto the field to open the game, with the exception of goalie Erin Beall and defender Kody Shelton. The moment was not lost on the crowd or the players. Kaylyn Voytilla snagged the opening draw and raced down the field to open up the scoring just 16 seconds into the game. Not to be outdone, the Stallions took their first step toward playing spoilers by matching her goal just 15 seconds later. Leong then switched up the draw by inserting Shelton, who won the draw over to Marina Sandoval for another Trabuco Hills scoring chance, but a turnover deep in the offensive zone cancelled it out. Both teams proceeded to display some sloppy play, as if they were still relishing the recently concluded ceremony, as the ball traveled up and down the field, with a save thrown in there by Beall for good measure.

The Mustangs finally remedied their play with a fast break started by Shelton, who carried through traffic before zipping a pass to Sandoval. She then found Jenelle Phillips before the ball ended up in the stick of Ashly Bradshaw to finish off the scoring play. Unfortunately, the Stallions came back with a fast break of their own to tie the score again. A win off of the next draw featured some nice passing that got the ball to Bradshaw breaking toward the net. When the lane closed up, Bradshaw backed the ball out, sent it over to Madison DuMond, who then spotted Becca Haggard for the score. Another draw win led to Bradshaw being awarded a free position, which she converted. With DuMond stepping back into the draw, the teams traded chances on both ends but were unable to beat the respective defenses. San Juan Hills finally got to the restraining line with a full head of steam and, after Beall made a great save on their 1st attempt, gathered up the rebound and scored on a strong second effort.

Sandoval came up with the following draw and delivered a pass back to DuMond once in the offensive zone. A rugged carry through traffic culminated in a beautiful goal just inside the far post as DuMond was cutting to the outside. A nice effort by Voytilla on the next Mustang possession pushed the lead to 6-3, but then San Juan Hills came back with 2 unanswered goals to keep it close. With Shannon Smith now in the middle, Trabuco Hills worked the ball down and were ultimately awarded a free position. Sandoval met heavy traffic at the whistle but struggled through it to notch her marker.

The Stallions came away with the next draw but Trabuco Hills was able to force the turnover with their swarming defense. Shelton carried the ball the length of the field before delivering a pass to Phillips; after a great individual effort, Phillips found the seam and buried the shot. A fortunate goal on the other end placed a small damper on the heightening mood, but the Mustangs came back strong. A nice save by the San Juan Hills keeper was overshadowed by an even better 1-on-1 effort by Phillips after the rebound to push the lead to 9-6. The Stallions pressed near the end of the half, but Beall made a big save and San Juan Hills was turned away empty-handed.

As the 2nd half opened, the Mustangs looked to assert themselves on the game, but a broken play led to a turnover that resulted in the Stallions racing down the field to re-open the scoring. San Juan Hills attacked again and, in the process of defending, Hannah Moller was forced out with an injury. This seemed to rally the Mustangs who, after some more sloppy play by both teams, seemed to pin back their ears and just go for it. Smith was outstanding in the circle and Haggard seemed to be everywhere. On the following sequence, Kendall Derbyshire snapped up a loose ball, carried out of trouble, and delivered a strike to Sandoval for the goal. On the next possession, Derbyshire was awarded a free position and overpowered the Stallions goalie. Taking the following draw in full stride, Derbyshire then raced across the San Juan Hills zone before beating every defender with a strong crease roll and shot. Grabbing another ball off of the draw, Derbyshire led a fast break before rifling a pass across to DuMond for a no-doubt goal. San Juan Hills managed to corral the next draw, but a save by Beall and a loose ball pick up and carry by Rachel Gillet helped to clear the zone before Gillet was able to find Derbyshire at midfield, who was off to the races again and whipped a shot past the defenseless Stallions net minder.

With frustrations mounting, San Juan Hills upped the physical play and things got a little more fierce on the turf. However, the Trabuco Hills onslaught continued, with Taylor Fox and Phillips adding tallies to the scoring sheet in spite of the hacking defense. As time was ticking down under 3 minutes, Phillips was then able to find DuMond with a wide open scoring lane in front of her, which she gladly took advantage of and beat the San Juan Hills keeper cleanly. Not to be lost in all of this, the Mustang defense really stood tall in the 2nd half, limiting the Stallions offense to just 4 shots on-net in the and only 1 goal. A late goalie change allowed Ashley Bell to make a big stop late to keep the momentum with the Mustangs. The Stallions tried desperately to respond, but Trabuco Hills did an outstanding job with ball protection and clock management, preserving a convincing 17-7 win to cap off the regular season and sending the not-quite-capacity crowd home happy.

Next stop: OC/US Lacrosse Playoffs, Tuesday at Woodbridge!

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