By Zach Cavanagh
League Play Opens Next Week
After one more light week of games this week as the holiday break wraps up, San Clemente sports teams look ahead to opening their South Coast League schedules.
San Clemente girls water polo leads off the week on Tuesday, Jan. 10, with a match at San Juan Hills at 5 p.m. The Tritons (4-4) have been off since Dec. 22. San Juan Hills (6-7) has never beaten San Clemente in three all-time meetings.
The Triton girls basketball team also opens on Tuesday by hosting Aliso Niguel at 7 p.m. The Wolverines are 3-10 on the season, and San Clemente (14-4) took both games over Aliso Niguel last season.
San Clemente boys soccer is next up to kick off the South Coast League on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 5 p.m. at Aliso Niguel. The Tritons (4-2-5) were narrowly edged out for the league title last season by San Juan Hills. Aliso Niguel (5-0) hasn’t faced San Clemente since 2018 and is 2-10-8 all-time against the Tritons.
The Triton boys basketball team tips off its league slate at home on Wednesday against San Juan Hills at 7 p.m. San Clemente (6-13) looks to rebound after losing three in a row and eight of its past 10 games. Defending CIF-SS Division 2A champion San Juan Hills (11-7) makes its first foray into the South Coast League and has lost nine of its past 10 against the Tritons dating to 2012.
San Clemente girls soccer will be the last to open up league play on Thursday, Jan. 12, at Aliso Niguel at 5:30 p.m. The Tritons (10-1-3) are ranked No. 7 in the combined CIF-SS Division 1 & 2 poll. Aliso Niguel (0-2-2) hasn’t beaten the Tritons in their past four meetings, with two draws and two losses.
Girls Basketball Win Streak Snapped in Holiday Prep Classic Final
The San Clemente girls basketball team strung together a 10-game win streak to push into the final of the SoCal Holiday Prep Classic in San Diego, but the Tritons were held to a season-low 31 points in a loss to Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach on Friday, Dec. 30.
San Clemente (14-4) went 11-2 in the month of December with its only losses coming in the first game of the Troy Classic to Orange Lutheran, ranked No. 11 in CIF-SS Division 1, and to Mira Costa. The Tritons, ranked No. 9 in CIF-SS Division 2AA, also won the Segerstrom Classic.
In the SoCal Holiday Prep Classic, San Clemente won its first three games, each by a margin of 14 points or more. The Tritons defeated Skyline of Washington, 44-29; Campbell Hall of North Hollywood, 66-34; and Peninsula of Rolling Hills Estates, 57-43, to reach the final. Kiley Quillin, a senior, was named to the All-Tournament team.
San Clemente has two more home games before next week’s league opener. The Tritons will take on La Salle of Pasadena on Thursday, Jan. 5, and host University City of San Diego in the Orange County-San Diego Showcase at noon on Saturday, Jan. 7.
Boys Soccer Strong in SoCal National Showcase
It was a tightly contested week in Oceanside to close out the year for the San Clemente boys soccer team.
The Tritons opened the SoCal National Showcase against CIF-SS Los Angeles City Finalist Birmingham, and San Clemente was downed by the narrowest margin in penalty kicks. Birmingham scored its lone goal in the first half, and junior Carter Cooper scored in the second half for San Clemente. After playing to a draw, the teams went deep into the penalty shootout with Birmingham coming out on top, 9-8.
San Clemente rebounded with a 3-1 win over Richmond, a CIF finalist from the north, with goals from Cooper, Max Gonzalez and Jacob Poole.
In its final game, San Clemente prevailed in penalties over CIF State SoCal Regional Division II champion Torrey Pines. Kai Trager scored in the first half for the Tritons, but Torrey Pines also scored in the opening frame. The tie score held through the rest of the match, before San Clemente took the tiebreaker.
Next up for the Tritons is their South Coast League opener at Aliso Niguel.
Girls Soccer Takes Third at Excalibur Tournament
The San Clemente girls soccer team took home some hardware to close out 2022 at the Excalibur Tournament at Foothill and Tustin High Schools.
The Tritons posted back-to-back clean sheets against West Hills of Santee, 1-0, and San Marcos, 2-0. Rylie McLeish, a senior, and junior Addison Roberston split duties in the net.
San Clemente fell in the semifinals, 1-0, to Long Beach Millikan before wrapping up with a 5-1 win over Buchanan in the third-place match. San Clemente’s next match is its league opener at Aliso Niguel