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San Clemente’s Sophia Spralja (14) and Morgan Farrier (25) celebrate after Ellie Winkelmann’s (left) goal against Dana Hills on Jan. 20. Photo: KDahlgren Photography
San Clemente’s Sophia Spralja (14) and Morgan Farrier (25) celebrate after Ellie Winkelmann’s (left) goal against Dana Hills on Jan. 20. Photo: KDahlgren Photography

When the season began, it seemed like a majority of the San Clemente High School girls soccer roster was in need of a trip to the doctor. Injuries piled up and the team needed to come together fast.

San Clemente got out to a rocky start but now, with more and more players returning healthy to the lineup by the day, the Tritons are beginning to click into high gear.

The team’s newfound cohesiveness was apparent on Jan. 20 when San Clemente dominated visiting South Coast League rival Dana Hills in a 3-0 victory.

With an influx of healthy players to the roster, San Clemente head coach Stacy Finnerty said her team focused on returning to the basics for the matchup against the Dolphins. The Tritons defense kept a clean sheet for a third straight game and controlled possession for most of the match in the wining effort.

“I think the reason we were successful (today) is we just went back to our roots. Just really trying to pay attention to the technical, the possession and not get hyped into who’s scoring and the goals against and the pressure and the monkey on our back about what we are doing, aren’t doing. And it worked for us today,” Finnerty said.

Sophomore goalie Lauren Brzykcy and the San Clemente (4-8-2, 2-2 league) defense posted their third straight shutout in league play. Brzykcy had been sidelined earlier in the season with an injury but returned at the start of league.

San Clemente’s Sophia Spralja opened up the scoring 22 minutes in after corralling a Dolphins clearance out of the box and burying home the put-back to give the Tritons a 1-0 lead.

San Clemente’s Ellie Winkelmann scored a goal in the Tritons 3-0 win over Dana Hills on Jan. 20. Photo: KDahlgren Photography
San Clemente’s Ellie Winkelmann scored a goal in the Tritons 3-0 win over Dana Hills on Jan. 20. Photo: KDahlgren Photography

In first half stoppage time Ellie Winkelmann, another player who recently returned from injury, scored on a curling shot from just outside the box that found the top right corner of the net.

The second half was much of the same for San Clemente, who outshot the Dolphins 6-1 over the final 40 minutes and scored again when Sydney Becker reeled in a nice long ball and beat the keeper to make it 3-0 at the 63-minute mark.

“We’ve just never had a group so I think it’s nice today they all finally clicked and found each other so I’m really excited,” Finnerty said.

The healthy Tritons lineup will have a chance to pull above .500 in league play when they host first-place Aliso Niguel on Jan. 29.

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