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Varsity 14, Woodbridge 11 (Playoffs)

May 5, 2015

It was a cool, overcast afternoon as the Mustangs from Trabuco Hills High School exited the bus and made their way over to the stadium at Irvine High School on Tuesday to open up their 2015 OC/US Lacrosse playoff season against the Woodbridge Warriors.

With a sour memory from their extremely frustrating 18-15 loss to the Warriors earlier in the season, the Mustangs knew that it was turnovers and lost draws that cost them in the last contest.  There was a nervous energy surrounding the players as they warmed up, an almost palpable confidence that this would be a very different day.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 11.34.14 PM Woodbridge was able to come away with the ball after a scramble for the opening draw and scored just 30 seconds into the game.  Another scramble, another possession, then efficient ball movement around the Trabuco Hills zone netted their second goal almost as quickly.  Sensing that the Warriors were trying to jump out early, the Mustangs settled down.  Slowing the pace, both teams ended up with turnovers off of dropped balls before Jenelle Phillips was able to corral yet another drop behind the Warrior net and beat the Woodbridge defense to the front.  Now finding their rhythm in the center circle, the Kody Shelton/Kendall Derbyshire connection started to click.  Once the ball found its way back to Phillips, a strong individual effort tied the game at 2.

Another draw win, this time by Becca Haggard, gave Trabuco Hills the ball on the run, but an untimely turnover put the Warriors on a fast break the other way.  Keeper Erin Beall made the initial save, but the rebound slipped past her.  After another scramble after the draw, Woodbridge was able to move back into the Trabuco Hills zone and, upon running through a Mustang defender, found a seam and scored again. 4-2 Woodbridge. Time out, Trabuco Hills!

Shelton won the next draw decisively over to Derbyshire, who carried through the entire Woodbridge defense before spotting Juliet Mooney behind the net.  Mooney then slipped a pass to Phillips out in front for her 3rd goal of the game.  Another draw win to Derbyshire allowed for her to deliver a pass to Phillips, who then found Madison DuMond for the score.  Yet another win to Derbyshire set up another pass to Phillips who, after missing on her first shot, recovered it and directed it into the Warrior net.  5-4, Mustangs lead.  Woodbridge finally responded to the series of Mustang possessions with a carry into the zone and a slick pass into the slot for the score.  This lead to a new level of intensity for the game, with rugged play dominating the entire turf.  Several trips up and down the field did not yield much until DuMond was finally awarded a free position after another of the mounting Warrior fouls, which she easily converted.

Getting back on the winning side of the draws, Derbyshire came away with another loose ball and, after a tough carry into the teeth of the Woodbridge defense, fired a pass into the slot for Marina Sandoval, who notched her first goal of the evening.  Woodbridge was able to respond with a goal of their own, but then the Mustangs gained possession once again and, after grabbing a loose ball behind the net, Phillips got the ball to Derbyshire who buried the shot.  A rough, weaving run after snapping up the next draw, won by Shannon Smith, gave Phillips her 5th goal of the half.  When the Warriors pushed back on the next time down the field, a loose ball was picked up by Shelton near the goal and carried through traffic before she delivered a perfect strike to Derbyshire past midfield, who then put on a burst of speed and beat everyone to the goal for her second marker.

With time running down on the half, the Mustang pressure caused the Warriors to lose the ball out of bounds near the restraining line with just over 6 seconds to play.  On the whistle, Smith passed deep into the slot area and found Sam Ransom, who was immediately swarmed by defenders.  Quick thinking got the ball to Derbyshire coming in from the wing and she was able to beat the beleaguered goalie with just 1.3 seconds left to push the Trabuco Hills lead to 11-6.

whs-logoThe second half saw the intensity ratchet up yet another notch.  The aggressive Warriors pushed the play and were able to break through with an early goal.  The Mustangs then stepped up with a tremendous defensive stand, weathering the waves of Warriors on the attack.  Hannah Moller, Ashly Bradshaw, Alyssa Ortega, and Shelton led the charge, but every defender and mid-fielder was making contributions.  After another 10 minutes of defensive heroics and great team play, Sandoval was awarded a free position and beat the Woodbridge keeper cleanly.  More physicality by the Warriors kept things sloppy, but Trabuco Hills displayed great character.  Haggard showed tremendous resilience through all of the jostling and fouls she endured.  Sandoval was eventually able to get the ball to Phillips in traffic in front of the Woodbridge net; with sticks and bodies clogging things up, Phillips was able to switch hands and change her angle before recording her 6th goal.  Not long after, with Derbyshire traversing the Warrior zone, she zipped a pass to Sandoval for her 3rd tally of the game. Trabuco lead, 14-7.

Things were getting more and more physical as time was starting to become a factor.  Woodbridge eventually scored off of a free position, then registered another goal off of a soft defensive sequence, but Beall’s 12 saves were significant.  Haggard controlled the next draw, however, and the Mustangs held onto the ball for the next 4 minutes as the Warriors desperately tried to create a turnover.  They finally succeeded, but by this time the clock showed less than 2 minutes to play.  A rush down the field did result in a Woodbridge goal, but there was nothing left but pure desperation now.  Really pressing, Woodbridge was thwarted on their next 2 attempts on goal, one save being “by committee” as at least 3 Mustang sticks deflected the shot before it got to late replacement Ashley Bell.  A late goal would make the scoreboard look closer than it actually was, but a draw win by Smith with 16 seconds left sealed the win for Trabuco Hills.

Revenge for the early-season debacle tasted ever-so-sweet, as this was a true team victory: Final score: Trabuco Hills 14, Woodbridge 11

Next: Quaterfinals at #1 Mater Dei

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