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SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – A tense focus at the start of the game and a calm relief at the end was evident for the San Clemente Girls’ soccer team at San Juan Hills High School on Saturday morning, January 28.
After an unsatisfactory draw at San Clemente and a disappointing loss at San Juan Hills, both the Tritons and Stallions still had a chance to decide their way to the South Coast League Championship heading into the final week of the regular season. Clemente boldly grabbed the steering wheel.
The Tritons scored three goals in three ways in the first half, a physically played shutout road win to move to first place in the South Coast League, a 3-0 victory over San Juan without many meaningful chances. held the hills.
“It was what I needed,” said San Clemente coach Stacey Finnerty. “It was never a tie again. It’s done, we had some Aliso games that worked, but they weren’t finished yet, this time we weren’t going to wait, this is for our team and the game to fix priority, and they have done it.”
San Clemente (13-1-6, 3-3-3, 9 goals) have their own destiny in the South Coast League title race with two games remaining. San Juan Hills (12-3-3, 4-3-0, 8 points) have just one game left. That means the Stallions will need help from elsewhere to get his third straight win. Last season the Tritons and Stallions split the league title.
Ranked 10th in CIF-SS Divisions 1 & 2, San Clemente need a win in their final two matches or a loss to San Juan Hills to clinch the outright league title. San Clemente could at least take a share of the title with a draw in either game, or if San Juan Hills tie the finale. Ranked 8th in Divisions 1 & 2, San Juan Hills need to win the final and San Clemente lose both matches to clinch the title outright.
San Clemente will host Tesoro on Tuesday, January 31, and finish in the Capistrano Valley on Thursday, February 2. San Juan Hills finishes at Alison Niguel on his Tuesday, January 31st. 4, the first round of the playoffs on February 8th.
“This is a very important game,” Finnerty said of Saturday’s contest. “We want to peak this second round of the league, heading into the playoffs. can you do it for two teams?”
San Clemente applied early pressure at the San Juan Hills, with Triton scoring a free kick in the 14th minute from 25 yards out of the Stallions’ goal.
Maria McMahon stepped up for the kick, curling the ball perfectly to the left and flying past the San Juan Hills keeper to score the first goal at 1–0.
“I’ve been practicing that kick for weeks. Felt”
In the 29th minute, sophomore Charlotte Jeskalski jumped up and headed the ball in the San Juan Hills box and shoved it back in the air to score a penalty kick. Yeskulsky stepped into that spot and holed up on the right side to give the Sun his Clemente lead at 2-0.
Six minutes later, Yeskulsky scored for a three-goal Triton lead with a cracking shot to the right side of the net from 30 yards out.
“I noticed they started giving me space in the middle,” said Yeskulsky.
From there it was all about keeping their distance with the San Juan Hills, but San Clemente excelled in that for much of the second half.
The Stallion knocked one try off the crossbar in the 57th minute, but was whistled for offside for a possible San Clemente goal in the 60th minute.
In the 75th minute, San Juan Hills had the best chance on the net with a free-kick, but Addison Robertson dove left and put his fingertips on the ball to keep the score clean. Junior Robertson split the game with senior Riley McCleish throughout the season.