(Courtesy of MaxLaxOC)
March 17, San Juan Capistrano – A beautiful St. Patrick’s Day brought an exciting, seesaw battle between two top Orange County girls’ lacrosse teams. Beckman entered the day looking to turn the tide after a close, one-goal loss to a strong Santa Margarita, and San Juan Hills was looking to continue its winning ways after two straight victories—one of which was a one-goal nail-biter against San Clemente.
The Stallions came strong out of the gate, building an early 5-1 lead, due in part to dominance on the draw behind senior Bridget Cain. On their first possession after claiming the opening draw, senior middie Taylor Austin made a quick feed to sophomore attacker Lucy Hodge, who cut from behind and received for the point-blank shot.
Minutes later, Jacy Fischbeck scooped a rebound after a nice save from Beckman’s Maddy Wolf and made good on the second chance opportunity. Beckman answered when senior Carly Tobias lit up the cage with a free position shot from the center hash. The next five minutes was all San Juan Hills, as Cain unleashed a rocket on an unsettled play, senior Mandy Muhr converted a free position, and junior Nicole Strauch took the feed from a driving Cain and pocketed the shot before the slide could shut her down.
With an immediate response from the ensuing draw, Tobias ripped a wicked left-hand shot through traffic to bring the Patriots within three. The rest of the half belonged to Beckman. Junior Lauren Frank finished a feed from senior Samantha Bui who was under defensive pressure on a tough pass. The home team slowed down the ball, played patient lacrosse and found good scoring opportunities, while Wolf made a few strong saves to keep her team within two. After back-and-forth turnovers, Tobias scooped and drove through the unsettled defense to make it a one-goal game. Senior Taylor Stern made her presence felt by tying the game with a free position shot.
With the game now knotted at 5-5 and 6:18 until the half, Beckman kept it going. Stern drove, pulled away from pressure, and re-attacked with a strong shot and goal—prompting a Stallion timeout. But the pause in action was to no avail, as Stern netted her third straight off a great feed from senior attacker Nidhi Satyadev. Moments later, Stern followed with a fourth. In the last minute of the half, Muhr snapped the Stallion dry spell to make it 8-6, which was the score at the half.
The second half was a classic boat race, with each team going on short runs interspersed with back-and-forth goals.
Muhr opened the scoring with a high bouncer off the free position, and the home team was knocking on the door, down by one. Moments later, Hodge lined up for the free position, drew the defense, and dumped the ball to a wide-open Muir on the goal circle—and just like that, the game was tied at eight.
On the following Patriot possession, Tobias drove on her strong hand and cranked a shot against the grain to net the top-shelf goal. After each team took a trip in the offensive end, San Juan Hills responded after a nifty draw and dump from a creative Cain to Austin. Game tied at nine.
Beckman scored on their following possession with a stick-skill showcase: Stern from the top to Satyadev down low to the cutting Tobias in the 8M for the shot and goal. From here, the visitors went on a run, with Tobias shooting an awkward-yet-strong right-handed free position and senior attacker Layne Takahashi driving through light pressure to unleash a running lefty shot high.
12-9, Beckman, with 14:02 to go.
Cain brought her team back by attacking with a strong drive off a free position for San Juan Hills, and Beckman kept the lead at three when Tobias beat the double team by dropping the stick and firing the sidearm ripper.
The home team then mounted a run of its own. Hodge earned a free position with a strong reception in the 8M and hit the shot, off-stick high. Austin followed with a hard, low free position of her own. Less than a minute later, Fischbeck tied the game with 7:39 to go in the game.
The final set of the match was a defensive showcase, as the scoreboard read 13-13 at the end of regulation. Beckman earned two consecutive yellow cards but killed them both without any damage. The visiting Patriots, after a key save from Wolf, played the clock for the final shot, but the Stallions held strong on defense, gave no ground, and prevented any offensive penetration.
In overtime, each team had its chances. In a dramatic moment, Wolf saved a low, hard cannonball from Cain, but stepped out and back into her crease to give the ball back to San Jan Hills. Austin had a nice chance on a feed and drive, but the shot went wide on the late defensive check. With twenty seconds left to go, Beckman made a sweet defensive interception and pushed hard to the fast break, but the Stallion defense kept them out of the 8M to force a second overtime period.
San Juan Hills scooped the opening draw of the second overtime and Austin went straight to the drive and fired a left-handed shot that beat Wolf but caught the near pipe and rebounded to the restraining line. Beckman junior Abby Williams shoveled the ground ball and pushed the action into the opposing zone, moved the ball behind to Frank, who found Tobias on the slow break for the shot, goal, and overtime victory for the Beckman Patriots.