Week 2 of our 2017 season (March 13 -18) provided some serious challenges (and no wins) for the Varsity and a lot of playing time for both JV and the Practice Team in games during the week and the Sticks & Stones Tournament on Saturday.
March 13 CdM Varsity vs. St. John’s Varsity Summary:
St. John’s is located in Houston, Texas. Their girls lacrosse program was ranked #1 in Texas in 2016, and this week saw them on a Southern California pre-season tour in preparation for their 2017 campaign. On Monday afternoon and evening, they played both Santa Margarita Catholic School and us in a double-header at Santa Margarita. (This was one of the games we had set up instead of the Rose Bowl Jamboree in order to improve our strength of schedule.) Our contest was the first of the day, with warm ups starting in mid 80s afternoon heat. For our girls, that environment is unusual. For girls from Houston, it’s a pleasant, low-humidity day. That circumstance may have played a role in the game, particularly the first half. St. John’s controlled the opening draw, and after a little more than two minutes, scored a nice assisted goal. In the next two minutes, they scored two more, on unassisted drives from midfield. The Copland sisters, Carson and Kate, who have committed to play at Division 1 powerhouse Northwestern after graduation, scored all three of these St. John’s goals. (As it turned out, this was to be a preview of almost all their scoring for the balance of the game.) This rapid 0-3 deficit caused us to take a timeout in an attempt to settle and re-focus. Unfortunately, that break did not produce the change we had hoped. In the next six minutes, Kate Copland tallied twice more on drives from midfield. Regrettably, we had actually controlled three of the first five draws in this opening stretch, but we had lost those possessions with turnovers leading to the St. John’s opportunities. Finally, after controlling the next draw, we maintained possession long enough for Kennedy Mulvaney to get us on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal at about the mid-point of the first half. Two minutes later, though, St. John’s added to their total, scoring from a free position shot (their only goal of the day not made by one of the Coplands), putting us at a 1-6 deficit. In the next two minutes, though, capitalizing on St. John’s turnovers rather than draw controls, we recorded two more scores, both from Lauren Rowe, once on a free position shot and once on a breakaway drive. There was no more scoring by either team in the half, leaving us down 3 – 6 at the break.
The second half also opened with a stretch of St. John’s goals by the Copland sisters, three by Kate and one by Carson. This brought the score to 10 - 3 in their favor at nearly the midpoint of the final stanza. Again, we called a timeout. This time, the results of the break were better. After time resumed, we appeared more focused, and there was a lot of back and forth play for the next four minutes. Then, in a span of a little more than a minute, we tallied three times. Caroline Brewster recorded the first of those scores, unassisted. Kennedy Mulvaney, scored the next, also unassisted, and then, after snatching the ball out of the air from the subsequent draw taken by Ellery Amdor, Kennedy drove to goal and scored again. The elapsed clock time between Kennedy’s two goals was eleven seconds. At this point, there was nearly eight and a half minutes left in the game. We were still down 6 - 10, but we had momentum, excitement and the hope of a comeback. There was a lot of tense play, but no scoring, over the following five and a half minutes. Unfortunately, St. John’s was the next to capitalize on a scoring opportunity, when Carson Copland tallied off a free position shot with about three minutes left on the clock. We managed to add one more goal to our total with only 14 seconds left when Maria LaBruna scored off an assist from Caroline. This brought the final outcome to an 11 – 7 victory for St. John’s.
After the game, both teams assembled for handshakes and a group photo memorializing a hard fought game. After that, our team huddled for some post-game analysis by coaches and players and then got on the bus to head home. St. John’s rested for a bit and then played another full game, the second half of their double header for the day. They beat their hosts, Santa Margarita, by a score of 16 -13.
Varsity Game Ball for St. John’s: This was a tough game for the whole team, particularly the defenders and midfielders that had to handle the persistent St. John’s attacking pressure. It was decided to recognize one such defender who had made important clearing runs into the attacking end of the field on five separate occasions. Gabbi Garcia was awarded the Game Ball for the St. John’s game.
March 13 CdM JV vs. St. John’s Summary:
While St. John’s Varsity was playing our Varsity and that of Santa Margarita at Santa Margarita, their JV was playing the JV’s of both schools at CdM. Since these venues are 25 miles apart and the game times overlapped, the following is a condensed summary based solely on the game stats ably collected by our JV scorers’ table. In the first half, St. John’s outscored us 4 - 2, with our goals being provided by Paige Wood, assisted by Ava Blower, and Kendall Fryer, unassisted. Unfortunately, those two first half goals were our only ones for the whole game. In the second half, St. John’s added five more goals to their total to wind up with a 9 – 2 winning margin. Their margin would have been greater had it not been for the 10 saves recorded by goalie Bella Badajoz.
JV Game Ball for St. John’s: In recognition of her performance in goal, Bella Badajoz was awarded the JV Game Ball for the St. John’s game.
March 15 CdM Practice Team vs. Newport Harbor JV2 Summary:
On Wednesday afternoon, our Practice Team headed over to Jim Scott Stadium, at Estancia High School, for a game against the Newport Harbor JV2. This was a match recently added to our schedule to give the Practice Team more game experience before their full day of competition coming up in the Sticks and Stones Tournament.
Newport scored twice in the first four minutes of the game. Their resulting 2 – 0 advantage remained unchanged for the next fifteen minutes, due in large part to multiple saves made by our goalie, Victoria Delgadillo, who started playing lacrosse for the first time just a month ago. However, in the last six minutes of the half, Newport added three more unmatched goals to their total, giving them a 5 – 0 lead at the halftime break.
In the second half, Newport stretched that lead to 7 – 0 in about the first seven minutes of the period. After that, though, an exciting turnaround occurred. Over the next twelve minutes, we scored four unmatched goals of our own. The first three of these were scored from free position opportunities, one by Chynna Linkon, and two by Sophia Newton. Hayley Zamolo tallied our fourth goal in that string on a roll from behind the crease. A few minutes later, we thought we had another good scoring opportunity when it appeared that Sophia Newton had been awarded yet another free position shot. However, the referees huddled and declared that there had been offsetting fouls against both teams. Under those circumstances, the alternating possession rule happened to be in Newport’s favor at that point, so they were awarded the ball. After the game, the referees discussed that circumstance more thoroughly and the head referee realized that he had misinterpreted what his referee partner had called, and that no offset should have been invoked. He apologized for his mistake, but Sophia should have been allowed that shot, and based on her performance in prior free position opportunities, another goal for us would have been a distinct possibility. It is pure speculation to wonder what a fifth goal in a row could have meant for the ultimate outcome of the game. What is not speculation, though, is that the change of possession obtained by Newport at that point allowed them to maintain control for most of the remaining time on the clock. Time ran out with the score remaining 7 – 4 in Newport’s favor.
Although not a win, the manner with which our team addressed their deficit, and the visible returns they were able to experience by their “never give up” effort were useful lessons learned.
Practice Team Game Ball for Newport Harbor: For her performance in goal, Victoria Delgadillo was awarded the Practice Team Game Ball for the Newport Harbor game.
March 16 CdM Varsity vs. Mater Dei Varsity Summary:
Mater Dei was the Southern Section Champion in 2016, and they have returned the bulk of their team for 2017. Nonetheless, our Varsity was looking forward to the challenge of such a stiff early season matchup and had practiced with focus in preparation for the contest. That preparation appeared to be paying off well for the first seven minutes of the game. We had split control of the draws and play was intense, but relatively even. Mater Dei scored twice in that interval, but Kennedy Mulvaney tallied once for us, unassisted, in the same span. After another two and a half minutes of tight exchanges and no further scoring, Mater Dei called a timeout to talk things over. That timeout did not produce an instantaneous effect, but it may have contributed to Mater Dei’s play over the next six minutes, during which time they added two more goals to their total, bringing their margin to 4 - 1. There was then a nearly five minute period of give and take without further scoring. With a little more than three minutes left in the half, Emma Scott fell while shooting, landing on her twice surgically repaired knee and sustaining an injury. Play was stopped while Emma was attended to and then helped off the field. She was not able to return. (Sadly, she was later diagnosed with a meniscus tear requiring surgery, which will likely sideline her for the rest of her senior season.) When play resumed after Emma’s injury, only nine seconds elapsed before Kennedy made an assisting pass to Ellery Amdor, who scored to reduce our deficit to 2 – 4. Mater Dei controlled the next draw, but they were not able to immediately capitalize on their possession. However, after a few minutes of patient control, they did, scoring with only forty-seven seconds left in the half. They also controlled the next draw and, in only eleven seconds, tallied again. This gave them a 6 – 2 advantage with about half a minute remaining. They controlled the final draw of the half, and the clock ran out without further scoring. For us, this was a frustrating conclusion to what had otherwise been a relatively tight contest for much of the period.
The second half opened inauspiciously, with Mater Dei controlling the draw and driving directly to score only thirteen seconds into the period. Emily Faludy, who had controlled two draws for us in the first half, won the next one, which led to nearly a minute of our possession that culminated with Kennedy scoring again, unassisted. Unfortunately, this was to be our last tally of the contest. Over the remaining twenty-four minutes, Mater Dei controlled all but one of the draws and recorded eight more scores, most of them of a different nature than their tallies in the first half. In that opening stanza, at least five of their six goals had been the result of clear assists (with the sixth being close to that category). In the second half, only two of their goals were assisted, one more came from a free position shot (with a half second left on the game clock) and the other six were the result of unassisted drives. One can only wonder if the absence of Emma Scott’s physical strength and speed contributed to this difference. Whatever the cause, the difference in competitive balance between much of the first half and almost all of the second was pronounced. We will need to figure out how to address this circumstance quickly, since the Pacific Coast League competition starts for us next week.
Varsity Game Ball for Mater Dei: For her draw control wins and her composure under intense Mater Dei defensive pressure when handling the ball, Emily Faludy was awarded the Varsity Game Ball for the Mater Dei game.
March 16 CdM JV vs. Mater Dei JV Summary:
Following the Varsity contest, our JV took the field for the game against their counterpart from Mater Dei. Unlike the Varsity game, neither team was able to score early, with defensive pressure yielding turnovers by both sides. It was not until the mid-point of the first half that a Mater Dei midfielder scored on an unassisted drive. A little over a minute later, that same midfielder tallied another, again on an unassisted drive. That was all the scoring in the first half, leaving us with a 0 - 2 deficit at the break.
Seconds after the start of the second half, that same pesky Mater Dei midfielder won the draw and drove directly for the opening score of that period. In response, Chloe Ronnenberg took and controlled the next draw, and after we held possession for a little over a minute, Chloe passed to Whitney Padgham behind the Mater Dei crease. Whitney made a nifty, dodging crease roll to get in front of the net and score our first goal. Unfortunately, we were not able to immediately build on that success because Mater Dei tallied twice more in the next seven minutes, again from unassisted midfielder drives (although not the same midfielder as their first three). With about eight and a half minutes remaining, we cut our deficit to 2 – 5 when Lexi Garbers maneuvered into a clear space in front of the Mater Dei net, where Chloe spotted her and gave her an accurate pass allowing Lexi to quickly score. In lacrosse, goals can be recorded in rapid-fire bunches, so our 3-goal deficit at that point still left us well in the game. But, about a minute later, that same Mater Dei midfielder who had scored their first three goals scored on a breakaway drive to increase our deficit to 2 – 6. There was then a lot of back and forth play but no more scoring by either team until about two minutes left, when Mater Dei scored one last time . . . and yes, it was the same midfielder on an unassisted drive. That was the final goal of the contest, giving them a 7 – 2 win.
This game pointed out areas in which the JV will need to improve. Clearly, one such area is defense against midfield drives. Another, though, is taking better care of the ball when we have possession. We actually controlled more draws in the game than Mater Dei, but most of those initial possessions did not lead to strong scoring attempts for us because of our own turnovers. As it turned out, those lessons would be put to the test just a few days later when the same two teams faced each other again at the Sticks and Stones Tournament. See below for the results of that encounter.
JV Game Ball for Mater Dei: For being one of our draw control winners, making an important clearing run and general alert play, Reese Simkins was awarded the JV Game Ball for the Mater Dei game.
March 18 Stick & Stones Tournament - JV:
The Stick and Stones Tournament at Trabuco Hills High School is annually one of the highlights for Southern California Junior Varsity programs. This year there were 32 teams entered, organized into four 8-team brackets in which the tournament organizers tried to place teams of roughly comparable strength. The brackets were organized such that every team would play three games, with almost all games to be played on Saturday (with the exception of four played Friday night, none of which involved our teams). Our JV was placed in what appeared to be the strongest of the four brackets.
Our first opponent early Saturday was the JV of San Juan Hills High School. We opened that game well, with Paige Wood scoring unassisted about two minutes in, followed by a goal by Natalie Wood, assisted by Chloe Ronnenberg, about five minutes later. Mid-way through the first period, San Juan countered with a goal of their own, but we added another tally with about six minutes left in the first stanza, on a goal by Chloe, assisted by Kendall Fryer. The resulting 3 -1 score in our favor was how the first half ended. The second half was a different story. In the first ten minutes of that period, San Juan tallied three unanswered goals, to move to a 4 – 3 lead. It was not until late in the second half that we tied it up at 4 – 4 on an unassisted goal by Lexi Garbers. That was the score when regulation time ran out. Tournament games consisted of 20-minute periods with running clocks, starting and stopping simultaneously throughout the complex to try to maintain the overall schedule. To minimize the time required to determine a winner, ties were settled with “shoot outs” in which each team had a player take a free position shot from the center of the 8-meter arc with two defenders from the other team providing a challenge from adjacent hash marks. If one team’s player scored, but the opposing team’s didn’t, the scoring team won the game. If neither or both scored in the first matchup, the sequence would be repeated with different players until one team secured the advantage and was declared the winner. By virtue of being the “visiting” team under tournament rules, San Juan Hills had the choice of shooting first or second. They chose second. Lexi Garbers, who got us into the shootout in the first place with her late goal, was picked to be our first shooter. Unfortunately, the San Juan Hills goalie stopped her shot. Bella Badajoz, our goalie who had kept us in the game with seven saves in regulation time, was not able to save the San Juan shot, and they were declared the victor. It was a harsh finish to an exciting and competitive match.
As it turns out, had we won that game, our JV’s next match would have been a mini “Battle of the Bay” against the JV of Newport Harbor. Instead, we got the pleasure of playing Mater Dei again. This time around, though, it turned out to be a much different encounter. The same Mater Dei midfielder who had scored five against us just a few days earlier did open the scoring for them about four minutes into the first half. However, we did a much better job of recognizing and defending her favored maneuvers for the balance of the contest, and that was her only score for the day. We tied it up about a minute after her opener on a well-placed shot by Hailey Butcher, assisted by Ava Blower. Mater Dei responded with a goal from a free position opportunity about a minute later, and we countered a minute after that with a score by Lexi Garbers, assisted by Hailey. The resulting 2 -2 tie score remained unchanged for almost all of the rest of the first half. With less than a minute left, Mater Dei tallied to take a 3 – 2 lead into the halftime break. That score stayed unchanged for most of the second half, as both teams played tight defense. Finally, with less than two minutes remaining, Mater Dei scored again from a free position opportunity. That turned out to be the last goal of the game, and they won 4 – 2.
Despite that outcome, our JV’s improvement in competiveness from the mid-week Mater Dei game was pronounced. It was almost like watching a different team. We controlled all but one of the draws (all taken and most won by Hailey Butcher), defended well against their strong midfielders and materially cut down on our own turnovers. This left us in an optimistic mood heading into our last game later that afternoon.
That last game was against the JV of Great Oak High School from Temecula in Riverside County. We opened the scoring in the contest about three minutes from the start with an unassisted goal from Chloe Ronnenberg. Great Oak responded with two goals from free position opportunities over the next three minutes. Jessica Moore tied it up at 2 apiece with a nice crease roll about a minute later. Great Oak edged back in front at about the mid-point of the first half with their third free position goal of the period. As it turned out, that 3 – 2 advantage was to be their last lead. In the final three minutes of the half, we scored two free position goals of our own, the first by Hailey Butcher and the second by Lexi Garbers (with only three seconds left on the clock). That gave us a 4 – 3 advantage at half time. That advantage grew dramatically in the second half, as we recorded six more goals, while holding Great Oak to none. Two of our second half goals came from Natalie Young (one assisted by Jessica Moore and one by Lexi), two came from Lexi (one assisted by Reese Simkins and one from a free position opportunity), one came from Hailey (assisted by Jessica) and one came from Kendall Fryer (unassisted). The 10 – 4 resulting victory was a satisfying way for the JV to wrap up a full day of tournament play.
Although the JV only won the last of their three games, they were highly competitive in the other two, against strong opposition. Their rapid improvement since their mid-week Mater Dei encounter is hopefully a good sign as they open Pacific Coast League competition next week.
March 18 Stick & Stones Tournament – Practice Team:
The Practice Team opened their Sticks & Stones competition with a game immediately following our JV shootout loss on the same field. Their opponent was the JV team of Mission Viejo High School. The beginning seven minutes of the game suggested that they might be overmatched. In that interval Mission Viejo moved out to a 3 – 0 lead. Shortly after, though, we got on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal from Lauren Smith, who had just finished a game with the JV, but was helping to supplement the Practice Team roster depleted by absences. Midway through the first half, Mission Viejo scored again, but we matched that score shortly thereafter with a free position goal from Jilly Senk, another JV player helping to bolster the Practice Team roster. That was the final tally of the first half, leaving us with a 2 – 4 deficit at the break. In the second half, Jilly opened the scoring about three minutes in, assisted by a long pass from Danielle Martin. Mission Viejo re-established their 2-goal margin a few minutes later on an unassisted drive from one of their midfielders. Almost all of the rest of the game was characterized by back and forth play with neither team able to record another score. During this period, Victoria Delgadillo, playing goal, made several key saves to keep us from falling further behind. With only about two minutes left on the clock, Chynna Linkon got a free position opportunity and scored, closing our gap to one, at 4 – 5. Unfortunately, we did not control the subsequent draw and were not able to regain possession and record a tying score to force a shootout like the JV had in their immediately preceding game. Mission Viejo got the victory.
Although not the hoped-for outcome, such a close contest against a full JV team was an encouraging start for the day. Accordingly, the Practice Team approached their second game with some optimism. That game was against the JV of Segerstrom High School of Santa Ana. Because of overlapping game times, help from our JV team was limited to one player, Jessica Moore, who volunteered to play goal in the first half, despite never having played that position before, in order to give Victoria Delgadillo and Miranda Cyr, our alternating goalies, more field playing time. That single substitution proved to be very fortuitous. Miranda controlled four draws, taken by Tori Gyselaar, in the first half, before stepping into goal in the second half. Two of Miranda’s draw controls were the first two of the game, and in both instances, she was able to maintain possession and eventually score. Segerstrom controlled the third draw and drew one back a minute or so later, but Miranda won the following two, which led to two more goals for us, the first being an unassisted tally from Hayley Zamolo and the second being a goal by Sophia Newton, assisted by Chynna Linkon. This gave us a 4 -1 lead at about the mid-point of the half. Segrestrom added to their total a minute later, but we finished the scoring for the first stanza with only a few minutes left when Danielle Martin made a strong run across the face of the Segerstrom goal and put the ball in the back of the net. The resulting 5 – 2 advantage was the most favorable halftime score line the Practice Team had experienced so far this year. The second half had much less scoring. We tallied first on another unassisted goal from Danielle Martin. Segerstrom got the only other goal very late in the game. Accordingly, the Practice Team won, 6 – 3.
Regrettably, that was the last success of the day for the Practice Team. Because of the outcomes of their first two games, their last game was not to start until 5:45 pm. By that time, their already depleted roster dropped to an unplayable number due to a lot of player early departures. There were a few JV players willing to help despite just finishing their third game on a hot day, but even with that assistance, the Practice Team was unable to come close to fielding a full team. Accordingly, for safety reasons, we had to forfeit that last contest. This was an embarrassment for the program that we hope never occurs again.
The very full Week 2 did not produce the outcomes we wanted and it added to the injury issues of the Varsity. Hopefully, we can grow stronger from all this, because Week 3 starts our Pacific Coast League season. The first league games are on Monday afternoon at CdM when both the Varsity and the JV play their Woodbridge counterparts. The Varsity game starts at 3:15 pm and the JV game commences at4:45 pm. On Tuesday afternoon, the Practice Team faces the JV of Esperanza High School at their field with a game time starting at 6:30 pm. On Wednesday afternoon, the Varsity and JV go to Beckman, our traditionally strongest league opponent, for games starting at 4:00 pm and 5:30 pm, respectively. The week wraps up Friday afternoon with the always highly contested Battle of the Bay against Newport Harbor. This year Harbor will be hosting the games at Peninsula Park, 100 E. Oceanfront. The JV will play first at 3:15 pm, followed by the Varsity at 5:00 pm. We hope to see strong crowds of supporters at all of these important encounters
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Our 2017 Spring Season is finally underway! If Week 1 is any indication, it promises to be an exciting one. In a departure from recent years, we did not participate in the Rose Bowl Jamboree Tournament (which the Varsity won in 2016) in our opening week. Since we are limited to the number of games we can play in a season, we elected this year to allocate the slots previously used by the Rose Bowl contests to schedule some high profile teams that we have never played before in order to beef up our “strength of schedule”. (One of those encounters will occur next week.) As a result, our Week 1 this year started straight off with full games against teams with historically competitive programs, Los Alamitos and Aliso Niguel. Our varsity promptly demonstrated its readiness with two dominating victories, its best opening week in the last four years. Our two other teams played competitively to produce a win, a tie and a loss. Here are some of the highlights.
March 7 CdM JV vs Los Alamitos JV Summary:
The competitions began on Tuesday afternoon at Los Alamitos High School, the program that won 6 straight Southern Section titles from 2009-2014. Los Al today is not the dominating powerhouse it was then, but its legacy still attracts strong athletes and their coaching makes them worthy opponents. Our first game of the afternoon was between our respective JV teams. We started the contest auspiciously, with midfielder Chloe Ronnenberg controlling the first draw, but we were not able to capitalize on that possession, and Los Al struck first, scoring less than two minutes into the game. This tally was followed by nearly eight minutes of back and forth play with no change in the score line. Chloe then broke the impasse with an unassisted drive for a goal to tie it up at 1 apiece. Only a few minutes later, Los Al moved back into the lead, 2-1, on a free position shot. For much of the remaining portion of the first half, that’s how it stood, with both teams exchanging missed scoring opportunities and turnovers. But, there was a flurry of scoring activity in the last two minutes of the half. Los Al scored again, moving to a 3-1 lead, but Chloe countered again, snagging a long pass from behind by Kendall Fryer and then driving to score. Less than half a minute later, though, Los Al recorded the final tally of the half, entering the break with a 4-2 lead.
In the second half, we again opened with a control of the first draw, neatly snagged by Paige Wood. This time we were able to capitalize on our possession, as after a few minutes of control, Paige made a nice move from behind the crease to pass to Natalie Young, who scored the first goal of the period, cutting our deficit to 3-4. About six minutes later, Los Al stretched their lead to two again, with another goal. Three minutes after that, we narrowed it to one again, off a free position goal from Paige. Los Al matched that free position goal with one of their own a few minutes later, reopening their two-goal margin. Kendall then scored unassisted to again draw us within one, 5-6. Los Al broke open this see-saw exchange in the last 10 minutes of the game, scoring three unanswered goals, resulting in a 9-5 win for them. This outcome was strongly influenced by the possessions resulting from draw controls. Los Al controlled all of the draws following our last score. Although we had a small edge in draw controls over the whole game, through the efforts of Paige, Chloe, Natalie and Hailey Butler, Los Al’s possession advantage in the closing stages of the contest proved decisive.
While the outcome of this contest was disappointing, the effort and enthusiasm displayed by our JV was not. This was a competitive match that could have tilted the other way with achievable improvement in a few key areas.
JV Game Ball for Los Alamitos: For the last several years, we have had the practice of awarding Game Balls for standout performance in games when we feel such recognition is warranted. We are continuing that practice this year. For her goal, assist, team-leading draw control performance and all-round alert play, a Game Ball is being given to Paige Wood for the Los Alamitos JV game.
March 7 CdM Varsity vs Los Alamitos Varsity Summary:
Following the JV contest, our Varsity faced the Los Alamitos Varsity under the stadium lights. Los Al controlled the first draw, but our defense stood fast, and we were able to regain possession to tally the first score after about three minutes on a shot from Senior Captain Kennedy Mulvaney, assisted by Joslyn Simaan. Los Al evened it up on a free position shot two minutes later. Little did any of us know at the time, that was to be their last hurrah. The cooperative and intensive effort of our midfielders and the defenders led by Senior Captains Katherine Mulvaney and Katie McCabe, along with fellow Seniors Gabbi Garcia and Emma Scott, was extraordinary. Through their efforts, Los Al managed only three more shots on goal for the remainder of the entire game, all of which goalie Ashley Olson saved. Meanwhile, we began to steadily build up our scoring tally. We established a 2-1 lead about halfway through the first stanza on a free position shot by midfielder Ellery Amdor. Shortly after this point, we had a scary moment. Senior Captain Jensen Coop suffered an ankle injury cutting in front of the Los Al goal. The game was suspended while Jensen’s condition was evaluated and she was eventually helped from the field for treatment on the sideline. She was not able to return. (She is now in a recovery period that will likely last for a number of weeks.) The game then resumed and with a little less than six minutes to go in the period, Senior attack Maria LaBruna scored off an assist from Kennedy. The resulting 3-1 score elicited an immediate time-out from Los Al to talk things over. Their defensive pressure increased after the time-out, but the most visible outcome of that pressure was a two-minute yellow card suspension for one of their players. With about a minute and a half left, Kennedy scored again, this time from an assist by Ellery. We carried that resulting 4-1 lead into halftime.
In the second half, Maria opened our scoring a little more than two minutes in, again from an assist by Kennedy. About three minutes later, Joslyn scored, also assisted by Kennedy. With their deficit now 6-1, Los Al called another time-out. Following this time-out, their defensive pressure escalated still further, eventually producing a period in which they had two players out for yellow cards simultaneously. We were not able to score in that interval, but our passes and tactical decisions began to be a little hasty. We called a time-out ourselves with about eleven and a half minutes left in the game to settle down. That proved useful, as we got back to business afterwards and scored three more goals, one by Emily Faludy, assisted by Kennedy, a second one by Joslyn, this time unassisted, and a final one with a less than two minutes remaining by Kennedy, assisted by Joslyn, leading to our final winning margin of 9-1. This result against an opponent like Los Alamitos was a real statement.
Varsity Game Ball for Los Alamitos:
In recognition of her three goals, four assists, two draw controls and offense coordination, Kennedy Mulvaney was awarded the Varsity Game Ball for the Los Alamitos game.
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Three days later, late Friday afternoon and evening, all three teams bussed down to Aliso Niguel High School to compete against Aliso Viejo’s comparable three teams. It was our first chance to see the Practice Team in a competitive contest, and further chances to evaluate the early season status of the JV and Varsity.
March 10 CdM Practice Team vs Aliso Viejo Frosh/Soph Summary:
The Practice Team is largely comprised of players who only started playing lacrosse recently (some as recently as last year, some as recently as last semester, some as recently as last week). Although they have been learning and improving rapidly in practice, we were eager to see how they would react to a true competitive contest. The game against the Aliso “Frosh/Soph” was a very good test to measure their progress. It was clear from the outset that several of the Aliso players had more advanced lacrosse skills and experience than most of our players. But, it was also clear from the outset that we were not outmatched in terms of enthusiasm and athletic talent.
We lost the opening draw control, leading to an Aliso score in less than a minute. However, about two and a half minutes later, Jilly Senk (playing with the Practice Team today to get more game time than was available on her crowded JV roster), won a ground ball at midfield and went on a long, dodging run to score. Less than a minute later, Hayley Zamolo also got the ball at midfield and used her speed to pull away from Aliso players to score. Just like that, the Practice Team had their first lead of the season (2-1), and we knew we were in the game. Jilly extended our lead to 3-1 on a crease roll a little past the midpoint of the half, but Aliso scored the next three to move ahead 4-3. Jilly scored again with about five minutes left in the half to tie it again at 4-4, but less than a minute later, Aliso moved ahead 5-4. Finally, with only about 20 seconds, Jilly got a free position shot and put it away to tie the score entering halftime at 5-5.
That first half gave the team a lot of confidence, particularly the newer players. That confidence manifested itself visibly with different players involved in our second half scoring. In the first three minutes of the second stanza, Aliso tallied twice to open up a 7-5 lead. About two minutes later, Lauren Weise scored unassisted off a strong drive to cut our deficit to one. A minute after that, Aliso tallied again, moving to an 8-6 advantage. After a tense four minutes of missed opportunities and turnovers by both teams, Izzy Floriani scored an unassisted goal for us, cutting Aliso’s margin back to one. Two minutes later, Megan Chelf, one of the brand new players just transferred from soccer, made a clearing pass to Sophia Newton, new to the sport this school year, who turned and spotted Lauren open with a lane to goal and made a bullet pass to her, giving Lauren the opportunity to drive unmarked, which she promptly did and scored. This tally not only tied the score (8-8), it dramatically illustrated how much this group of players has improved in a short period of time. Five minutes later, Lauren scored again, giving us a 9-8 advantage. That was not the end, though. With a little less than five minutes on the clock, Aliso tied it up 9-9 (after we had possession and tried unsuccessfully to score when we probably should have just run more time off the clock . . . oh well, it’s how you learn). As you might imagine, the final minutes of the game were intense. Finally, with a little more than a minute left, Chynna Linkon got possession and made an on-the-money assisting pass to Izzy, who tallied to make the score 10-9 in our favor. After Aliso won the subsequent draw, there was a flurry of activity around our goal, but goalie Miranda Cyr pinned the ball in her crease and controlled it until the time ran out. In a fun, competitive and exciting contest, the Practice Team won its first game.
Practice Team Game Ball for Aliso Viejo:
There were so many worthy candidates for special recognition in this game that it was difficult to make a choice. In addition to those contributing to the scoring, our two goalies, Victoria Delgadillo in the first half and Miranda in the second, each made three crucial saves, despite having minimal goalie training. But, it was finally decided to single out a player brand new to the sport about a month ago who was tenacious in defense, both individually and knowing when to slide and help. Abbie Jensen was awarded the Practice Team Game Ball for the Aliso Viejo game.
March 10 CdM JV vs Aliso Viejo JV Summary:
Following the Practice Team game, our JV took the field against the JV of Aliso. By this time, play was fully under the stadium lights. We opened the contest by winning the first draw (taken by Chloe Ronnenberg and controlled by Paige Wood), but were not able to convert this possession into a score. Aliso tallied first about four minutes into the game. We controlled the next draw and had a better payoff from the possession this time, as Natalie Young tied it up, unassisted, about a minute later. In another four minutes, we scored again . . . this time on a free position shot by Chloe. Over the next seven minutes, Aliso came back to score twice, once from a drive and once from a free position shot, opening up a 3-2 advantage for them. In the remainder of the half, there was lot of defensive pressure, possessions, and turnovers from both teams until about three and a half minutes were left. At that point, Natalie scored again, this time from a nice assist by Whitney Padgham. The resulting 3-3 score was the final tally for the first half.
The second half was equally tightly contested. Aliso scored first, less than a minute in, off their opening draw control possession. It was another nine minutes of intense back and forth play before we were able to tie it up again (4-4), on a shot by Whitney, assisted by Jessica Moore. Over the next six minutes, Aliso scored twice from the field, opening up a 6-4 margin. We controlled the draw after their 6th goal from a foul, but were not able to immediately turn this possession into a score. Instead, another seven minutes of back and forth possessions and intensive defensive pressure ensued. Finally, with a little less than two minutes remaining, Lexi Garbers got a free position shot opportunity and converted it to draw us to within one goal (5-6). We controlled the next draw and pressed hard to come up with another goal, but our shot was saved by their goalie. Because our ride was so tight, the goalie had to leave her crease within 10 seconds, and she then passed the ball to one of her defenders. We tried to double-team that defender for possession, but fouled instead, giving her a restart. At that point, the only Aliso player that was truly open was the goalie, so the defender tried to pass the ball back to her. Her pass was just out of the goalie’s reach, passing across the face of the goal and landing near Lexi Garbers’ feet. Lexi calmly scooped it up and fired into the open net before the goalie could get reset, tying the score at 6-6 with a little over a minute left in the game. Aliso took time out to re-group, presumably to lay out their strategy for the closing seconds of the contest. Chloe then disrupted one of their options by winning the subsequent draw, but we lost possession trying to score the winning goal and play moved to our end of the field for the final hectic moments. Our defense held firm and the clock expired with the score tied.
The relatively modest scoreline reflects the defensive intensity from both teams. We gained a lot of possessions through ground ball contests, interceptions and other caused turnovers, but we also lost a lot of possessions due to turnovers resulting from Aliso pressure. All in all, it was a good competitive match with lessons learned that should help future encounters. (JV has an interesting one on Monday against a team from Texas at CdM.)
JV Team Game Balls for Aliso Viejo:
Because both offensive and defensive performances stood out, Lexi Garbers was awarded a Game Ball for the Aliso Viejo JV game in recognition of her very timely scoring and Tessa Montgomery was also awarded a Game Ball reflecting her team-leading total of contested ground ball wins and caused turnovers.
March 10 CdM Varsity vs Aliso Viejo Varsity Summary:
After the excitement of the Practice Team and JV games, the Varsity contest against Aliso ultimately proved to be somewhat anti-climatic. Despite controlling only one of the first three draws, our defensive pressure was so coordinated and our transition passing so crisp, we jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first seven minutes of the game on two goals by Ellery Amdor, assisted by Joslyn Simaan and Olivia Holton, and a goal from Emily Cannon, assisted by Ellery. This provoked a timeout from Aliso, which slowed the pace somewhat, but it did not stop our scoring. In the remainder of the half, we added two more goals from Kennedy Mulvaney, one assisted by Ellery and one unassisted. During this half, starting goalie Ashley Olson was an impenetrable wall, recording seven saves, three of which were from free position shots. As a result, we went into halftime with a comfortable 5-0 lead.
The second half produced more of the same. Over the first seventeen minutes of that period, we recorded seven more goals, while Aliso scored none. During that interval, Kennedy scored two more, one assisted by Joslyn, Ellery scored again, unassisted, Emily Cannon scored again, assisted by Ellery, and Lauren Rowe, Caroline Brewster and Olivia Holton each scored once, unassisted. Over that same period, Ashley saved two more free position shots and one more from the field. Finally, with about eight and a half minutes left in the game, Aliso scored. It turned out to be their only tally of the night and the final goal of the game. As a result, the contest ended with a 12-1 win for CdM.
Although our performance in the Los Alamitos game had led us to expect a good effort against Aliso, such a dominating outcome was a bit of a surprise. This was particularly so since we were missing four players due to injury and other circumstances, three of which were starters. Despite the resulting lineup changes (and Katie McCabe having to sit out after to a blow to her cheek midway through the first half), the team performance continued at a very quick, controlled and sustained level throughout. As the Aliso coach was heard to say after the game “They were flying.”
Varsity Team Game Ball for Aliso Viejo:
In recognition of seamlessly stepping in as a starter in attack and recording two very good goals, Emily Cannon was awarded a Game Ball for the Aliso Viejo match.
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Week 2 contains some important encounters for all three teams. On Monday, the Varsity will play St. John’s from Houston, Texas at Santa Margarita High School at 4:00 PM. This is the first game of a double-header in which St. John’s will follow up the game against us with a game against Santa Margarita starting at 6:30. This will be a strong test for the Varsity since St. John’s was ranked #1 in Texas in 2016. While the Varsity is playing at Santa Margarita on Monday, the Santa Margarita JV and CdM JV will each play the St. John’s JV at CdM the same afternoon, with games starting at 3:15 and 4:45, respectively. On Wednesday afternoon at 4:45, the Practice Team will scrimmage Newport Harbor at Estancia. On Thursday, the Varsity and JV will play Mater Dei, the 2016 Southern Section Champion, at CdM. The Varsity game starts at3:15 and JV starts at 4:45. Finally, on Saturday, the JV and Practice Team will be participating in the Sticks and Stones Tournament at Trabuco Hills High School. The first game for JV will be at 8:35 AM, and the first game for the Practice Team will start at 9:25 AM. More details will follow. The teams really appreciate support at games, particularly away games, so we hope that you will be able to attend and cheer at one or more of these matches.