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San Clemente’s Molly Engel challenges Capistrano Valley’s Jennifer Munoz during a game on Jan. 13. Photo: KDahlgren Photography
San Clemente’s Molly Engel challenges Capistrano Valley’s Jennifer Munoz during a game on Jan. 13. Photo: KDahlgren Photography

By Steve Breazeale

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

Tritons Soccer Topples Cougars 1-0

The San Clemente girls soccer team picked up an important South Coast League win on Jan. 13, defeating Capistrano Valley 1-0 at home. Sarah Rawle netted the lone Tritons goal in the first half to seal the win.

The win evened the Tritons (3-6-2) to 1-1 in league play. San Clemente opened league with a 2-0 loss to defending champion Aliso Niguel on Jan. 8.

San Clemente will continue league play Jan. 15 when they travel to play Mission Viejo.

Boys Soccer Continues Winning Ways

Following a 4-4-2 start to their season, the San Clemente High School boys soccer team has settled into a groove in recent weeks. Since drawing to a 0-0 tie with Mater Dei on Dec. 27 as part of the Oceanside Classic Tournament, the Tritons have rattled off seven wins in a row, most recently picking up a 2-1 win over Capistrano Valley on Jan. 9.

The Tritons (11-4-2, 3-0 league) trailed the Cougars 1-0 at the half, but struck twice in the second half on goals from Nima Amjadi and Matias Ledesma to earn the come from behind win.

San Clemente will travel to play a league match against San Juan Hills on Jan. 16.

Triton Wrestlers Prepares for Hawks

The San Clemente High School wrestling team is off to a 14-4 start to their season and had a successful run at the Esperanza tournament last weekend, where they had five place-winners.

It’s a good start, but the biggest match of their league season is on the horizon.

The Tritons will host defending league champion and perennial favorite Laguna Hills on Jan. 20. The Hawks and the Tritons have spent the last few years battling it out for the league title. The Tritons record in league is currently 1-2, with a lone win over Mission Viejo. The Tritons fell to Dana Hills and Trabuco Hills earlier this season, the first time a San Clemente team has lost more than one league match in 26 years, according to head coach Mark Calentino.

At the Esperanza tournament on Jan. 10 the Tritons had three wrestlers win their respective weight divisions. Seniors Noah Fiegener (147 pounds), Mike Marshall (184 pounds) and Alex Ames (197 pounds) pulled off first-place finishes. Senior Zack Henserson (162 pounds) and sophomore Hunter Gallaher (128 pounds) finished second and fifth, respectively.

This weekend the Tritons will send a handful of their top wrestlers to the Temecula Invitational Jan. 16-17 before hosting the Hawks.

Mendez Ties Assist Record in Tritons Hoops Win over Wolverines

San Clemente senior point guard Victoria Mendez recorded a game-high 14 assists in the Tritons convincing 79-44 win over Aliso Niguel on Jan. 13, tying the program’s all-time one-game mark.

The Tritons, who are now 1-1 in South Coast League play, were led by Jenna Rodriguez’s 20 points and 16 rebounds. Senior Emma Bankson knocked down seven 3-pointers in the win.

A road game against first-place San Juan Hills on Jan. 22 now awaits the Tritons, who are looking for a third straight league title.

Boys Basketball Enters League Play

The San Clemente boys basketball team has benefitted from an influx of football players to their roster just in time for South Coast League play. The Tritons open league with a road game against Aliso Niguel tonight at 7 p.m.

Sam Darnold and Cole Fotheringham have been among the football players who have come back and contributed heavy minutes. Darnold was the difference in the Tritons (9-7) win over Troy on Jan. 6 when he poured in a season-high 29 points.

San Clemente wrapped up nonleague competition with a 65-55 victory over San Juan Hills on Jan. 9. Senior Nick Crankshaw sat out of the game against the Stallions in order to heal up before the team’s game against the Wolverines, according to the team’s website.

Aliso Niguel (12-5, 1-0) has had a strong start to their season. The Wolverines and San Clemente enter South Coast League play as the only two teams in league with a record above .500.

Chargers Edge Tritons Water Polo in League Opener

A second quarter scoring barrage led the El Toro girls water polo team past San Clemente 9-8 in both teams South Coast League opening match on Jan. 8.

San Clemente led 4-1 after the first quarter, but El Toro responded by outscoring the Tritons 5-1 in the second. The Chargers had seven different players score goals in the win. Makenna Smith led the Tritons with three goals and two assists.

San Clemente was set to travel to play Aliso Niguel on Jan. 13. Results were not available at press time.

Tritons Tabbed for All-CIF-SS Football Selections

The CIF-SS All-CIF selections were announced Jan. 13 and the San Clemente High School football team was well represented. The Tritons had seven players named on the list, the most of any school in the Southwest Division.

Senior quarterback Sam Darnold was named the division’s offensive player of the year. Senior linebacker Riley Whimpey was named the defensive player of the year.

Junior running back Vlad Dzhabiyev and junior offensive linemen Donte Harrington and Tucker Scott were named to the offensive team.

Senior defensive back Jake Russell and senior defensive lineman Chicho Rodriguez were named to the defensive team.

In other football news:

San Clemente senior linebacker Riley Whimpey picked up an offer from Utah State this past week, head coach Jaime Ortiz said in an email.

Whimpey, the Sea View League co-defensive player of the year, now has two offers, including one from Boise State University.

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