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By Steve Breazeale
It’s no secret that the San Clemente boys lacrosse team can score goals in a hurry. Heading into the first round of the US Lacrosse Southern Section Championships on May 6 against No. 13 Mater Dei, the No. 4 Tritons had scored double digit goal counts in four out of their previous five games. The offense was firing against the Monarchs, like it has all season, but the defense, especially the penalty kill unit, showed they can match the offense in efficiency in a convincing 15-3 victory.
The Tritons will now host No. 5 Santa Margarita in the second round on May 8.
The Tritons (15-5) defense killed off 10 out of 10 penalties on the night, denying Mater Dei a chance to score when they had one and even two-man advantages.
San Clemente held a 10-2 lead in the third quarter when Mater Dei benefitted from back to back Tritons penalties, giving them a two-man advantage. The Tritons did not allow the Monarchs to get a shot off and, once the penalty was killed, senior Jack Renard scored to put San Clemente up 11-1.
“The game was never in question. Our man down unit is pretty good and our defense is good in general,” San Clemente head coach Mike Hutnick said. “We have a couple interchangeable parts that all fit in there really well and they know what they’re doing. They get it done.”
Tritons senior Peyton Garrett scored four goals and tallied an assist and the Tritons got one goal each from Jack Renard, Austin Lickley, Austin Streeter and Collin Zines to take a 9-1 lead into halftime. The Tritons outshot the Monarchs 25-5 in the first half.
Streeter led the way with four goals in the second half as the Tritons breezed their way into the second round.
The Tritons have now won eight games in a row and have momentum heading into their match with the Eagles, who placed second in the Trinity League.
“We are definitely peaking at the right time right now. It’s good to see. We still have not seen a complete game and when we do, good luck to whoever we face,” Hutnick said.