The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the SC Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

San Clemente's Sami Neilson helped lead the Tritons team to a win over Dana Hills on Oct. 2. The Dolphins had not lost a league contest in 23 years. Photo: Steve Breazeale
San Clemente’s Sami Neilson helped lead the Tritons team to a win over Dana Hills on Oct. 2. The Dolphins had not lost a league contest in 23 years. Photo: Steve Breazeale

By Steve Breazeale

For in-game updates, scores, news and more for all of the San Clemente High School fall sports programs, follow us on Twitter @SouthOCsports.

Tennis Team Ends Epic Dolphins Win Streak

On Oct. 2, the San Clemente girls tennis team accomplished something no Dana Hills opponent has in league play since 1991. The Tritons relied on strong play from their singles unit against the Dolphins en route to an 11-7 upset victory in the South Coast League. The loss was the first the Dolphins have suffered in league in 23 years.

The Tritons were led by singles players Lindsay Hung and Sami Neilson, who swept all three sets.

The Tritons played back to back practice matches against Santa Margarita and San Juan Hills on Oct. 6 and Oct. 7, respectively. San Clemente will host Tesoro in a league match on Oct. 9.

Boys X-C Wins Sea View League Preview

The San Clemente boys cross country team packed five runners inside the top-10 to earn a first-place finish at the Sea View League Cluster Meet at Irvine Regional Park on Oct. 7.

Junior Connor Dunne won the race by a healthy margin, finishing in 15:47, more than 13 seconds faster than his teammate sophomore Jose Carlos De Jesus, who finished second. Senior Matthew Shelton finished fifth.

The win was an early statement for the Triton squad, who edged second place Tesoro at the meet. Tesoro began the week as the No. 6 team in the CIF-SS Division 2 rankings.

The San Clemente girls cross country team was set to compete in the South Coast League Cluster Meet at Irvine Regional Park on Oct. 8. Results were not available at press time.

The Tritons have been led by senior Kelsey Carroll, who has won two consecutive individual races to start her 2014 season. Carroll won the senior race at both the Woodbridge Invitational and Laguna Hills Invitational in Sept.

Tesoro Dominant in 59-38 Win Over Tritons

A hounding defense, slick special teams and solid quarterback play powered visiting Tesoro to a 59-38 nonleague victory over San Clemente on Oct. 2.

Tesoro junior quarterback Devon Modster and the Titans (5-1) offense had an answer for everything the Tritons (5-1) threw at them. Modster completed 17 of 30 pass attempts for 234 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran in a score late in the second quarter.

The Titans were able to keep San Clemente off the scoreboard early. Modster hit senior Tristan Kafentzis for a 30-yard touchdown and, after Tesoro forced a three and out on defense, connected with junior Spencer Heinsius for a 15-yard scoring strike that made it 14-0.

In the second quarter, both teams had a hard time keeping control of the ball.

A Tesoro fumble was recovered by San Clemente to start the quarter but the Tritons coughed it up right back to the visitors minutes later. With Tesoro driving downfield, the Tritons defense forced another fumble and senior linebacker Riley Whimpey recovered it for a 70-yard touchdown return to make it 17-10.

The Titans kick return unit was a difference maker in the game and consistently set Tesoro’s offense up with a short field.

After being set up at midfield, Tesoro scored on the first of two Anthony Battista touchdown runs to make it 24-10. Less than one minute later, San Clemente quarterback Sam Darnold responded on a 21-yard touchdown screen pass to junior Vlad Dzhabiyev to cut into Tesoro’s lead yet again, 24-17.

The crucial swing in the game came just before halftime.

San Clemente marched downfield trailing by 14 and scored on a 12-yard Dzhabiyev run with just over one minute to play. Tesoro again got a big play from their special teams when Kafentzis returned the ensuing kick 45 yards, setting up yet another short field. Modster engineered a quick-hit four-play scoring drive and ran in a four-yard touchdown to make it 38-24 with 19 seconds remaining.

Tesoro received the ball to start the second half and scored on a 16-yard pass from Modster to Jake Smeltzer to take a commanding 45-24 lead.

The Tritons were not able to recover.

“We didn’t play clean and when you don’t play clean that’s what happens. (Being) 5-1 is good. I wish we would have performed better tonight and we didn’t,” San Clemente head coach Jaime Ortiz said. “We’ve got to lick our wounds and learn from the experience and get ready for next Friday night.”

The loss snapped the No. 1 ranked Tritons five-game unbeaten streak. San Clemente will now head into Sea View League play and a game against Capistrano Valley on Oct. 10. The Cougars (5-1) are in the midst of a bounce-back year and are currently ranked No. 6 in the CIF-SS Southwest Division polls.

Tritons Water Polo Breezes Past Diablos

Five goals apiece from Chase Hamming and Colton Hamming helped pace the San Clemente boys water polo team to a convincing 14-3 South Coast League win over Mission Viejo on Oct. 7.

The Tritons (9-7, 2-0 league) will play host to rival Dana Hills on Oct. 14 in a crucial league game.

Volleyball Beats Titans in Five

The San Clemente girls volleyball team rallied back after losing the first two sets to Tesoro on Oct. 7 to take a five-set South Coast League victory on the road.

The Tritons won 27-29, 21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 19-17.

Girls Golf Suffers Tough Luck Loss

The San Clemente girls golf team fired off a collective score of 208 against Tesoro in a league match at Coto de Caza Golf Course on Oct. 1. The 208 was the Tritons lowest score posted in five matches, dating back to Sept. 11. But it was not good enough to earn a win, as the Titans responded with a low round of their own to claim a 199-208 South Coast League victory.

The Tritons (4-3, 2-2) will host San Juan Hills in a league contest on Oct. 14.


Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Staff

comments (0)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>