By Steve Breazeale
Playing against No. 3 ranked Corona del Mar last week, the San Clemente boys lacrosse team found themselves in a defensive battle. When the Tritons played host to top-ranked Foothill on March 29 eight days later, it was another close game, but one that saw both offenses firing on all cylinders.
The Knights overcame an 8-5 halftime deficit, and got enough late goals to survive a potential upset in a 17-16 win over the Tritons.
No. 5 San Clemente (5-2, 2-0 league) found their offensive groove in the second quarter. Foothill was able to build a 4-1 lead by dominating the faceoff circle, but once San Clemente and Will Bozarth found success in the spot, the Tritons went on a 5-0 run to take the lead. The Tritons got two goals from senior Collin Zines and Jack Renard and one from Torin Alm in the span of six minutes to take a 6-4 advantage.
With the Tritons dominating possession in the second, Foothill was held without a shot on offense until just under three minutes to play before halftime.
Foothill (7-1) answered in the third quarter with a run of their own. Led by junior attack Nate Marano the Knights scored four unanswered goals to tie it up 9-9. Marano scored once and tallied an assist in the quarter.
The game’s final 12 minutes was an offensive display that resulted in six lead changes.
San Clemente came back from being down 11-10 when Tritons senior attack Peyton Garret drove to the net, collected a pass from Renard and tied the game on a one-man advantage. Renard scored one minute later to give the Tritons the lead.
Both teams committed multiple turnovers in the final minutes and exchanged blows until the score stood at 16-16. With just over one minute to play, Foothill’s sophomore attack Kevin Kodzis netted the game winner on a feed from Nick Matzek, ending the scoring barrage for good.
“Our defense did not perform today. You look at the Corona del Mar game and we held them to four goals and our offense didn’t perform. Today our offense performed and our defense failed,” San Clemente head coach Mike Hutnick said. “It was a high scoring game and a shootout, it came down to the wire and there were too many turnovers, which has been our Achilles heel.”
San Clemente will continue their tough stretch of games with South Coast League matches against Tesoro (April 4) and El Toro (April 3) next week, before heading to Colorado to face the No. 1 team in the west Cherry Creek, according to www.insidelacrosse.com’s Under Armour Regional ranks, and No. 4 Arapahoe.