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John's Game Summary
For the last couple years, volunteer coach John Stuart, writes a detailed weekly summary of all the games played by the varsity, JV1 and Practice Team. He announces in his write-up the selected winner of the "game ball" chosen by the coaches at the end of each game. Thank you John, for taking the time to write such a thoughtful weekly summary. Enjoy.
 
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Week 4 of our 2017 season (March 27 - 31) had similar outcomes for the Varsity as Week 3 . . . two league victories and a loss against a strong independent (all crammed into the first three days of the week).  The manner of the Varsity’s loss, however, offered some encouragement as to prospects for the rest of the season.   The JV and Practice Team had a less strenuous week, each with only one game.  The JV prevailed, but the Practice Team did not.
 
 
March 27 CdM Varsity vs. University Varsity Summary:
The competition for the week kicked off with a home game Monday afternoon for the Varsity against league opponent University High School of Irvine.  University’s program has improved in recent years, but we didn’t have a lot of common opponents in our respective early schedules this year to offer much perspective on their current status.  The beginning moments of our game with them on Monday suggested that we would prevail handily.  In the first four minutes, we opened up a 4 – 0 lead on an unassisted score by Jensen Coop, a goal by Kennedy Mulvaney, assisted by Emily Cannon, an unassisted tally by Joslyn Simaan and a goal by Emily Faludy, assisted by Emily Cannon.  In retrospect, this opening probably misled us.  After University called a timeout, their focus and teamwork seemed better and ours seemed worse.  The balance of the half was much more tightly contested.  University recorded the next two scores, both from free position opportunities, before we tallied again, on a shot from Joslyn, assisted by Jensen.  University then scored another one, again from a free position opportunity.  In the last eight minutes of the period, we added three to our total from two goals by Ellery Amdor, one assisted by Caroline Brewster and one from free position, and another unassisted goal from Jensen.  This gave us an 8 – 3 margin at halftime, but the 4 – 3 record after the first four minutes was suggestive of a competitive second period to come.
 
In fact, the second half was more than competitive.  University actually outscored us in that stanza, and our opening four-minute margin turned out to be crucial to the ultimate outcome.  In the first eleven minutes of the second half, University scored six times, while we only added two, both from Maria LaBruna, one unassisted and one from free position.  This span shrank our margin to 10 – 9, which caused us to call a timeout to regroup.  That timeout helped, and over the next eight minutes, we scored twice; once from Ellery, assisted by Kennedy, and once from Kennedy unassisted.  In that same block of time, University only tallied once, making our advantage 12 – 10 at that point and provoking them to call another timeout with only five and a half minutes remaining in the game.  That last stretch of clock time proved to be action-packed.  Seven goals were scored in that interval.  We tallied the first three, from an unassisted goal by Caroline, followed by two goals by Kennedy, one from free position and one assisted by Ellery.  At that point, we had improved our margin to 15- 10, which seemed comfortable with only a little over two minutes left in the game.  University was not through, though.  They scored again with about a minute and a half left.  Thirty seconds later, we countered with a goal from Ellery assisted by Kennedy.  About forty-five seconds after that, University scored another, leaving only twenty-three seconds remaining until the final horn.  They controlled the subsequent draw, drove to goal and scored once more.  The four seconds that were then left expired without a further goal, and the game finished with a 16 – 13 outcome in our favor.
 
Even though it went into the books as a win, it didn’t feel the way a win should.  We had controlled a majority of the draws, but had squandered many of those possessions through turnovers.  Of even greater weight to the result was that we had logged the most fouls of any game so far this season, including those against very strong opponents.  This was a direct contributor to the six goals that University scored from free position opportunities and a strong indicator that our overall team defense had been a step late for much of the contest.  All of this elicited some lively team discussions later that day.  Those discussions seemed to be productive in the game against St. Margaret’s the following day, as described a little later below.
 
 
March 27 CdM JV vs. University JV Summary:
The JV game against University that followed the Varsity game ultimately proved to be less stressful for our coaches, players and spectators.  Like the earlier contest, our JV also opened up a 4 – 0 lead, although it took them twice as much time as the Varsity to accumulate that margin.  Our scorers in that opening surge were Paige Miller, assisted by Ava Blower, then Ava, assisted by Paige, followed by Hailey Butcher with one of her now becoming signature quick stick goals, assisted by Natalie Young, and finally, Chloe Ronnenberg, from conversion of a free position opportunity.  Again like the Varsity game, this deficit caused University’s JV to call a timeout.  Unlike the Varsity game, we recorded the first two tallies when time resumed, not them.  Kendall Fryer and Natalie provided those goals, with Kendall’s being assisted by Paige and Natalie’s coming from an unassisted crease roll.  Finally, with seven minutes remaining in the first half, University recorded their first goal, and a minute and a half later, their second (by capitalizing on our defensive turnover in front of our net).  Those goals turned out to be their only tallies of not only the first half, but also the whole game.  We finished off the scoring for the half with a goal from Lexi Garbers, assisted by Kendall, giving us a 7 – 2 lead at the break.
 
Our first half advantage was strongly enabled by controlling seven of the ten draws in that period, all of which were taken by Hailey in the center.  She controlled one directly out of the air herself, with the other six being won by Paige, who demonstrated an uncanny knack of anticipating where Hailey would draw the ball.  In the second half, we changed our draw assignments, both in the center and on the circle, to give more players experience at this highly influential aspect of all lacrosse games.  Despite these changes, we will still wound up controlling four of the five draws in the second period.  We exploited that resulting possession advantage by scoring four goals in that stanza, while University recorded none (although they had a couple of close calls that were turned away by goalie Bella Badajoz).   Our goals came from Reese Simkins, assisted by Natalie, and from Jilly Senk, Natalie and Paige, all unassisted.  The outcome of all this was an 11 – 2 win for our JV.
 
JV Game Ball for University:  In recognition of her goals, assist and all-round hustle,Natalie Young was awarded the JV Game Ball for the University game.
 
 
March 28 CdM Varsity vs. St. Margaret’s Varsity Summary:
The very next day, the Varsity had another game.  It was an away encounter in San Juan Capistrano against St. Margaret’s Episcopal  . . . another one of the strong independents that we added as opponents this year to beef up our strength of schedule.  We expected that we would be in for a tussle, and that expectation proved accurate.
 
The opening was not auspicious for us.  In little more than the first half-minute of play, St. Margaret’s midfielders twice drove to goal and scored, opening up a 2 – 0 lead.  Fortunately, through subsequent draw controls and turnovers, we got an early run of our own over the next six minutes.  We tallied three goals in a row, all by converting free position opportunities, from Kennedy Mulvaney, Caroline Brewster and Ellery Amdor.  St. Margaret’s then recorded the next two, from another midfielder drive and from a free position conversion, to move ahead 4 -3.  We drew even at 4 – 4 on a free position goal from Jensen Coop with about twelve minutes left in the first stanza.  At that point, St. Margaret’s took a timeout.  That turned out to be a good move on their part.  Over the next six minutes after time resumed, they scored five unanswered goals, moving them ahead 9 – 4.  That burst elicited a timeout from us.  The break proved momentarily helpful, as Jensen scored again, this time assisted by Ellery, a little over a minute later.  However, with only nine seconds remaining in the period, St. Margaret’s added one more to their total, giving them a 10 – 5 advantage at the break.
 
You might think that this kind of deficit against a strong team at halftime would be demoralizing.  However, just the opposite proved to be the case.  We took the field for the second half energized and focused.  In the first three and a half minutes, we recorded the first two tallies of that period . . . from Ellery, assisted by Kennedy, and from Kennedy, assisted by Caroline.  Unfortunately, St. Margaret’s countered immediately thereafter, scoring twice to re-establish their 5-goal margin.  We then cut our deficit to two, with three scores in a row, from unassisted goals by Kennedy and Joslyn Simaan and a goal from Emily Faludy, assisted by Kennedy.  St. Margaret’s recovered most of their halftime advantage by scoring the next two.  But, we then matched those two with a goal from Ellery, assisted by Kennedy, and an unassisted goal from Kennedy.  At that point, there were a little over seven minutes remaining in the contest, and we had shrunk St. Margaret’s lead to 14 – 12.  Once again, they called a timeout.  They scored first after time resumed, but about two minutes later, Ellery converted a free position opportunity to balance that out.  They then scored again, and we countered again, from a free position shot by Kennedy.  That brought the remaining clock time to slightly less than a minute, with us still facing a 2-goal deficit . . . not an impossible hurdle to overcome, but a daunting one.  Regrettably, we did not control the subsequent draw.  That led to a possession in which the last score of the game was recorded by St. Margaret’s four seconds before the final horn, giving them a hard-fought 17 – 14 victory.
 
In contrast to Monday’s result against University, which was a win for us that didn’t feel like a win, the St. Margaret’s game on Tuesday produced a loss for us that didn’t feel like a loss.  The team and coaches were justifiably proud of our effort and teamwork. We were much more focused and interactive Tuesday than Monday, visibly evidenced by a huge reduction in the number of fouls we committed.  This strongly contributed to the very competitive nature of the contest.  The balance in the outcome was probably influenced by draw controls. St. Margaret’s had a substantial advantage in that aspect of the game (although four of their controls were the result of referee calls that were puzzling to our sideline).  We partially offset that factor with more ground balls and caused turnovers in our favor than turnovers of our own. Still, at the end of the day, the net possession imbalance tipped in St. Margaret’s favor, and the score reflected that fact.
 
Varsity Game Ball for St. Margaret’s:  In recognition of her scoring and directly controlling seven draws, Jensen Coop was awarded the Varsity Game Ball for the St. Margaret’s game.
 
 
March 29 CdM Practice Team vs. Irvine’s JV Summary:
The Wednesday games were against Irvine High School, a Pacific Coast League opponent, at their stadium.  Up first was our Practice Team, matched against Irvine’s JV.  As has been in the case in other such contests this year, this proved to be a bit of a mismatch in terms of experience, but not in terms of athleticism and effort.   Irvine scored three times in the first nine minutes of the contest.  The third of those goals was a bit of fluke, as the Irvine player was driving from free position and lost control of the ball while shooting, causing to it to loop high and into the net, over the head of Victoria Delgadillo, our first-half goalie who had correctly moved to the edge of the crease to cut down the shooting angle.  Following that event, there was a lot of back and forth play until about ten minutes remained in the half, when we got on the scoreboard from a free position conversion by Sophia Newton.   Irvine scored twice more in the balance of the period, taking a 5 – 1 lead into halftime.
 
Irvine got the first goal of the second half, shortly after that period got underway.  But, we notched the next two additions to the scoreboard, with unassisted goals from Monique Martin and Lauren Weise.  With their lead reduced to 6 – 3, that caused Irvine to call a timeout with about fifteen minutes left in the game.  Whatever was said in that timeout, it proved effective.  We were shut out in the balance of the contest, while Irvine doubled their total, closing out the game with a 12 – 3 victory.
 
Practice Team Game Ball for Irvine:  For her goal and her hustle throughout,Monique Martin was awarded the Practice Team Game Ball for the Irvine game.
 
 
March 29 CdM Varsity vs. Irvine’s Varsity Summary:
Following the Practice Team game, the respective varsity squads played each other under the lights.  This was the third day in a row for our Varsity to play.  Because of that, we hoped that this contest would allow us the opportunity to rotate our roster more than in the St. Margaret’s game.  This hope was borne out.  
 
In the first two minutes, we scored three times.  Those tallies came from a free position conversion by Jensen Coop, a goal by Emily Faludy, assisted by Ellery Amdor, and a goal by Ellery, assisted by Kennedy Mulvaney.  Irvine got on the scoreboard next from a free position conversion, but over the following nine minutes, we added three more to our total.  Those three were virtually duplicates of each other, all created by the same tandem.  From up top, Kennedy passed to Caroline Brewster cutting from her position behind the goal, and Caroline placed all three in the back of the net.  It was not quite the midpoint of the first half, and we were already ahead 6 – 1.  Irvine called a timeout at that point to talk it over.  We used that break to make a goalie change, Katie Langley for Ashley Olson, and to start substituting more liberally.  Irvine’s timeout did not change their fortune.  In four and a half minutes after time resumed, we scored four more times.  Two of our goals in that stretch came from Joslyn Simaan, one assisted by Kennedy and one assisted by Emily Cannon.  The other two came from Emily Cannon, assisted by Kennedy, and Katie McCabe, assisted by Lauren Rowe.  In the remaining seven and a half minutes of the period, Irvine did add two more to their total.  However, in that same interval, we added three; two of which were unassisted goals by Lauren Rowe, with the other being a goal by Olivia Holton, assisted by Emily Cannon.  This gave us a 13 – 3 advantage at halftime.
 
In the second half, Irvine did score three more times, but we scored seven.  Most of our seven goals came from the usual suspects.  Jensen had one, assisted by Kennedy; Maria LaBruna had two, assisted by Kennedy and Lauren Rowe; Ellery had one, assisted by Caroline; Kennedy had one, assisted by Emily Faludy; and Lauren Rowe had one, assisted by Maria.  Our atypical goal came with about five and a half minutes left on the clock.  We had done a lot of position shuffling in the second half, and at that point, defender Katherine Mulvaney, who was then playing midfield, adroitly converted a free position opportunity for a score, eliciting loud cheers from the sideline.  (That was not Katherine’s only shot of the half, as she had bounced one off the pipe of the Irvine goal a little earlier.)  Despite our position shuffling and some shooting protocols adopted to not overly exploit our advantage, the net of all this is that we finished the game with a 20 – 6 winning margin.
 
Varsity Game Ball for Irvine:  For her typical leadership in defense and her atypical goal, Katherine Mulvaney was awarded the Varsity Game Ball for the Irvine game.
 
 
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Because of scheduling conflicts, we won’t play Northwood, thereby completing our first round of Pacific Coast League encounters, until Monday of Spring Break Week.  In the meantime, we will start our second round of league contests on Monday of this upcoming week with a home game against Beckman.  We are 4 and 0 against league opponents so far, so the outcome of Monday’s game will go a long way toward deciding whether we have a strong likelihood of winning the League title outright this year.  Our first game against Beckman earlier this season at their place was very tightly contested, and we did not secure the winning goal until nine seconds from the end.  We hope that the home field advantage, plus the lessons learned from subsequent other tight games, will make this encounter a little less breathless.  You can help toward that outcome by coming and cheering us on.  The Varsity game starts at 3:15 pm, with the JV game following at 4:45 pm.
 
On Wednesday, the Varsity and JV will be facing what may be their strongest challenges of the year.  Both teams are traveling by bus to Torrey Pines High School in Northern San Diego County.  The Torrey Pines Varsity is undefeated so far this year, despite a very strong strength of schedule.  According to MaxPreps, they are currently ranked #1 in California and #2 nationally.  As you might surmise, this is another one of the opponents we added this year to improve our own strength of schedule.  The JV game starts at 5:30 pm and the Varsity game commences at 7:00 pm.  If you feel up to the drive (or want to enjoy an overnight in La Jolla), we would greatly appreciate any crowd support we can get.