By Steve Breazeale
Eagle’s Golden Goal in OT Stuns Tritons
In the 93rd minute of a long back and forth battle between the San Clemente and Santa Margarita girls soccer teams, the Eagles junior Taylor Klawunder ended the match in the blink of an eye.
Klawunder, shooting from well beyond 15 yards out, sent a ball that found the Tritons crossbar and bounced in to give the Eagles a 1-0 win over San Clemente in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 1 Championships on February 19.
The game might have lasted 93 minutes, but the Eagles (10-5-4, 5-1-2 league) almost took the lead in the first 60 seconds. Santa Margarita’s junior forward Heather Walleigh found a ball in the Tritons box and fired a point blank shot, but the ball was deflected by the Tritons (10-7-6, 2-3-3) junior goalie Audrey Block.
Block would work to keep the Tritons alive in the first half and made another confident save in the 29th minute after an Eagles shot on goal off a set piece skipped in front of her. Block slid into position and smothered the shot for what would be her fourth and final save in the first half.
The Eagles held a slight edge over the Tritons in terms of scoring chances in the first half but the Tritons came out attacking in the second.
Junior Ally Lynn nearly broke through on a close range shot in the 48th minute and the ensuing Eagles deflection led to a Tritons corner kick. San Clemente junior Nikki Faris initiated a nice give and go set-play off the corner and narrowly missed on a streaking shot attempt from 10 yards out.
San Clemente went on to outshoot the Eagles 8-1 in the second half.
The Tritons were able to control the ball in their offensive third of the field for most of the overtime periods, but Klawunder’s long range bomb found the back of the net and kept the visiting teams’ season alive for one more game.
Tritons Historic Run Ends in Long Beach
Playing on the road against Millikan of Long Beach the San Clemente boys basketball team suffered an 82-72 loss that ended their historic season.
After winning the team’s first league title since 1975, the Tritons were bounced from the second round of the CIF-SS Division 1A Championships on February 19 due to costly turnovers and an opposing style that mimicked their own.
Going into the game, Tritons (18-11, 7-1) head coach Marc Popovich said that Millikan was a team without a bona fide post up threat that liked to spread the floor and run an up-tempo offense. The description Popovich gave could have been a blueprint for his own squad.
The Rams (14-14, 8-4) got out to a hot start, highlighted by a 16-3 run in the second quarter that allowed the home team to take a 35-27 lead into halftime. The Rams forced multiple Tritons turnovers and converted them into transition buckets.
The Tritons battled their way back to within three points in the third quarter but Millikan was able to pull away and secure a 55-45 lead heading into the fourth. The ten point advantage would end up being the difference between the two teams when the final whistle sounded.
For a full recap of the Tritons first round win over Capistrano Valley, visit
Tritons Win in Second Round, Gage Zerboni Athlete of the Week
The San Clemente boys soccer team got off to a blistering start on their march through the CIF-SS Division 1 Championships with a 4-0 win over visiting Leuzinger in the first round on February 15.
Senior forward Gage Zerboni had arguably one of his most productive games of the season, scoring three goals and tallying an assist in the win, and is our Athlete of the Week. It was the UCLA commit’s second hat trick of the year.
Tritons Head coach Mike Pronier also gave credit to senior midfielder Oscar Vasquez for his role in the win over Leuzinger. The Triton coaching staff threw Vasquez at Leuzinger’s top forwards and were happy with his defensive efforts in the shutout.
The No. 1 seeded Tritons traveled to play Harvard-Westlake in the second round on February 20 and came away with a 2-1 victory. They will now host Santa Barbara in the quarterfinals on February 22 at 5 p.m.
Before his team left for Studio City, Pronier discussed how Harvard-Westlake could pose some problems for San Clemente. On paper, the Wolverines have the same build as teams that have given the Tritons trouble in the past.
“With the amount of speed they have up top we are going to have to do some things to make sure that doesn’t hurt us,” Pronier said. “The losses we’ve had this year were against speed and teams with bigger guys. We can handle it but we have to make sure we play safe with it.”
The two losses on the Tritons resume were against teams with speed, like Carlsbad and El Toro, and Pronier was banking on his backline defense to match Harvard-Westlake’s quick forwards.
Harvard-Westlake quickly found themselves playing with a man down after being issued a red card early in the first half. The Tritons couldn’t capitalize on the advantage until Colin McDermott scored the game’s first goal early in the second half to put the Tritons up 1-0.
Harvard-Westlake would equalize minutes later off a free kick set piece to tie things at 1-1.
With the clock winding down San Clemente sophomore Santiago Digiuseppe scored the go-ahead goal to put the Tritons up for good at 2-1.
Tritons Girls Hoops Looses in Second Round
A strong defensive effort pushed the San Clemente girls basketball team past visiting Diamond Bar, 47-22, in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 1AA Championships on February 16 but the team’s successful season came to an end on February 20 after losing 89-61 to Santiago-Corona.
Tritons senior Alexa Johnson played a big part in the Tritons first round success after pouring in 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. As a team, the Tritons took care of the glass and secured 30 total rebounds.
Tritons Lose in Shootout
The San Clemente girls water polo team got past Long Beach Poly 7-6 in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 2 Championships on February 12, but lost in an 18-13 shootout to Santa Margarita in the second round on February 14.
The Tritons got out to an early 3-1 lead in the first quarter in the game against Long Beach Poly and held on for the win despite their opponents matching them point for point in the third and fourth.
San Clemente’s Amber McCutcheon led the team with six goals in the loss to Santa Margarita. The Eagles’ Haley Wan led all scorers with eight goals in the contest.
Seven Tritons Wrestlers Advance to Masters
A strong performance at the CIF Individual tournament on February 16 saw seven Tritons wrestlers advance to the CIF-SS Masters Meet, which will be held at Temecula Valley February 22 through February 23.
Christian Orpineda, Jacob Sandoval, Tim Parten, John Castellini, Mike Marshall, Ash Ryan and Austin Aceves will all represent the Tritons over the weekend.