By Zach Cavanagh
For in-game updates, news and more for all of the San Clemente High School sports programs, follow us on Twitter @SouthOCSports.
Boys Soccer Coach Pronier Earns 400th Win
The 400 club has another member at San Clemente High School.
Nearly a month after Tritons wrestling coach Mark Calentino picked up his 400th win, boys soccer coach Mike Pronier earned his 400th victory as San Clemente defeated Dana Hills, 6-2, in the final pre-league match on Thursday, Jan. 3.
San Clemente got two goals each from seniors Blake Bowen and Quinn Richards to spark the rout of the Dolphins. San Clemente led 4-1 at halftime. Seniors Liam Linas and Koosha Jadbabaei also scored for the Tritons. Senior goalkeepers Ryan Kowarsch and Curtis Harvey each manned a half in net.
Pronier kept rolling to No. 401 as the Tritons opened South Coast League play on Monday, Jan. 7.
The defending league champions maintained their form in a win at El Toro, 2-0.
Richards and senior Evan Dilbeck each scored in the second half, and Kowarsch and Harvey combined for the shutout.
San Clemente hosted Capistrano Valley on Wednesday, Jan. 9, but results were not available at press time. The Tritons are next in action against Mission Viejo at home on Monday, Jan. 14.
Weber Honored as National Player of the Year
The accolades keep coming for the boys soccer program as 2018 graduate Tristan Weber was named the 2018 National High School Player of the Year by the United Soccer Coaches Association.
Weber and other national honorees were recognized at the United Soccer Coaches national convention in Chicago from Jan. 9-13.
Weber, now a freshman at nationally ranked University of Portland, scored 15 goals and 22 assists as a senior for the Tritons last season. Weber was named South Coast League MVP and later the Gatorade California Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Weber started in 10 games for Portland and tallied three assists in his first season up north.
Girls Basketball Fights But Drops League Opener
The San Clemente girls basketball team opened the South Coast League by welcoming reigning league champion Aliso Niguel into the Triton gym on Tuesday, Jan. 8. However, the Tritons again couldn’t find their consistent game.
San Clemente trailed throughout, and despite cutting a 16-point third-quarter deficit to a four-point fourth-quarter deficit, Aliso Niguel prevailed, 58-46 to set the tone for league play.
“I think we had some mental lapses,” San Clemente coach Kerri Husbands said. “When we played smart and poised, we were fine. (Aliso Niguel is) a great defensive team.”
The Wolverines hounded the Tritons for most of the night with a full-court press and tight defense. Aliso Niguel also got hot from the outside with five 3-pointers from Nicole Referente for 23 points.
In the third quarter with San Clemente down 16 coming out of a timeout, Ella Gardiner took over.
The 6-foot-1 junior got a head of steam, drove down the court and pushed the Tritons back into contention. Gardiner scored 10 points in a 14-2 run for San Clemente that brought the deficit to only four points.
Gardiner scored a game-high 28 points and added two blocks, two steals and eight rebounds. Senior Theresa De Gree also scored 10 points for the Tritons.
After the run, San Clemente came up with only two more points while Aliso Niguel knocked down its free throws in a 10-2 run to end the game.
Despite the loss, the Tritons played right up to the league champions and showed the potential to build in league play.
“If we execute and play our game, we’ll be a solid match-up for anybody in our league,” Husbands said. “We’ve got to put together a full 32-minute game. Against good teams, we can’t have lapses where we lose focus and don’t follow through. When we are, we’re quite good.”
San Clemente plays at Dana Hills on Thursday, Jan. 10 and hosts Tesoro on Tuesday, Jan. 15.
Girls Water Polo Dominates League Opener
The San Clemente girls water polo team is back to its winning ways.
The Tritons (6-7) won their sixth of the last seven games and their 19th consecutive South Coast League game in a huge win over El Toro, 21-12, on Tuesday, Jan. 8.
Sophomore Aidan Flynn led the way with four goals, and seniors Brooklyn Aguilera and Juliette Clark and junior Grace Pelkey each scored hat tricks with three goals. Pelkey also added five assists. Senior Talullah Dubois, sophomore Alex Higginson and freshman Savannah Batchelor each scored two goals. Sophomroes Lang Csira and Kendall Patrick each netted one goal.
San Clemente opens the Tournament of Champions in Santa Barbara against Cathedral Catholic of San Diego on Thursday, Jan. 10. The Tritons return to league play on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at home against Aliso Niguel.