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By Zach Cavanagh
Girls Soccer Maintains Shot at League Title
With one game remaining on its schedule, the San Clemente girls soccer team still has a shot to take the South Coast League championship, but the Tritons will need some help from elsewhere.
San Clemente is in second place in the South Coast League based on winning percentage. The Tritons are 4-2-1 in league play (.643 winning percentage), and San Juan Hills is 4-0-3 in league play (.786 winning percentage). Based on a traditional soccer points structure – three points for a win and one for tie – San Clemente (13 points) is two points behind San Juan Hills (15 points).
San Juan Hills has the inside edge and hosts Trabuco Hills on Thursday, May 6. The Stallions tied Trabuco Hills in their first meeting.
San Clemente plays at Aliso Niguel on Thursday, May 6. The Tritons beat Aliso Niguel, 1-0, on April 20.
There are multiple scenarios that could see San Clemente earn the league title, but all but one requires the Tritons to earn a win or tie against Aliso Niguel. In the event of a tie in the standings, San Juan Hills would own the tiebreaker thanks to a win and a tie against San Clemente this season.
San Clemente has been an incredibly balanced team this season, with 11 different players scoring a goal. The Tritons’ leading scorer is sophomore Mia Owens, who has four goals. Owens last scored on April 27 against Tesoro. Another five players – seniors Ava Sinacori and Maxine Davey, junior Annie Larson, sophomore Abby Succi and freshman Charleen Coche – have two goals each.
San Clemente has split the duties in net between senior Emily Shad and junior Emily Sanchez.
San Clemente is currently just on the outside of the CIF-SS Division 1 rankings. The Tritons are listed as one of the teams outside the top 10 receiving votes. San Juan Hills is ranked No. 7.
CIF-SS will release the playoff brackets for girls soccer on Saturday, May 8, at 9 a.m., with the playoffs beginning with wild-card games on Monday, May 10, and the first round on Wednesday, May 12.
Boys Soccer Gears Up for CIF-SS Playoffs
The San Clemente boys soccer team is back at the precipice of the playoffs and ready to shoot for redemption.
The Tritons wrapped up their regular-season schedule on Wednesday, May 5, against South Coast League champion Capistrano Valley. Results were not available at press time, but San Clemente (8-1-2, 4-1-2) is locked in to second place in the league behind the Cougars (10-0-4, 7-0-0) and ahead of Mission Viejo (3-4-1, 3-5-1).
Last season, San Clemente was a defensive juggernaut. The Tritons allowed only seven goals across 26 games in the 2019-20 campaign while scoring 63 goals. San Clemente was the No. 1 team in the CIF-Southern Section and seemed primed for a repeat of its Division 1 championship.
However, San Clemente’s 20th shutout of last season proved to be the last game of the No. 1 seed’s run. University upended the Tritons in the second round with a penalty-kick shootout victory, 0-0 (7-6).
This season’s Tritons are a step behind last year’s pace but are still a strong unit.
San Clemente is currently ranked No. 8 in CIF-SS Division 1 and impressive in the goal-differential, with 38 goals for and six goals against in 11 games.
The Tritons’ lone defeat was to Capistrano Valley, which is ranked No. 5 in Division 1. The Cougars won at home, 1-0, on April 21. San Clemente responded with three straight wins over Mission Viejo, San Juan Hills and El Toro by a combined score of 12-1.
San Clemente is led up front by top scorers Jovani Gomez and Nolan Grush. Gomez, a senior, has eight goals on the season, including a hat trick against San Juan Hills on April 30. Grush, a junior, has seven goals. Senior Nelson Tabarez leads the Tritons with 6 assists, according to MaxPreps.
The Tritons have split time in the net between senior Trevor Tuttle and sophomore Ryan Savoie, but Tuttle has taken the lead with four shutouts to his name, according to MaxPreps.
Like girls soccer, CIF-SS will announce the brackets on Saturday, May 8, and the playoffs will kick off with wild cards next Tuesday, May 11, and the first round on Thursday, May 13.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.