For in-game updates, news and more for all the San Juan Capistrano high school sports programs, follow us on Twitter @SouthOCSports and on Instagram @South_OC_Sports, and sign up for weekly South OC Sports updates straight to your inbox.
San Clemente girls lacrosse absolutely rolled its league competition with nary a sniff of a test over its previous 12 games, and the Tritons kept up that roll on Monday, May 1, to reach new program heights.
San Clemente led by as many as six goals in the first half and completely dominated the second half to knock out St. Margaret’s, 19-7, in a CIF-SS Division 1 first-round game at San Clemente High School.
The No. 4 seed Tritons (14-3) now advance to the program’s first CIF-SS semifinal, where they will likely host No. 1 seed and heavy title favorite Foothill on Friday, May 5.
“Last year (in a 13-5 first-round loss) at Santa Margarita, the team was very deer-in-the-headlights,” San Clemente coach Josh Cain said. “I wasn’t sure who was going to show up to this playoff, and it was exciting to see that they were loose, excited to play and hungry to come out here. I think this is a big confidence-booster that we need.”
San Clemente devoured its South Coast League competitors to the tune of a combined 159-38 scoreline across eight league games, with one game closer than an 11-goal margin of victory—a 12-8 win over El Toro in which leading scorers Charlotte and Sophia Yeskulsky did not play. So, for Cain, it was important to see his team perform against a traditionally strong St. Margaret’s (13-6) program.
Charlotte and Sophia Yeskulsky each scored four goals on Monday, along with another four goals from Tessa Campbell. Taylor Juncaj and Karly Coury both scored three goals. Emma Massamiri also scored a goal and notched a handful of assists. Kayla Jones was stout in net with a several saves off free position attempts.
Laurent Lam scored four goals for St. Margaret’s. Minka Martinez score twice for the Tartans, and Grace Burke added a goal.
While the Yeskulskys got their share of the goal totals, maybe the most important takeaway from San Clemente’s first-round win was the spread of goal-scorers and how the Tritons played off and through the twin sophomores to diversify their offense.
“I think it was a lot of growing pains at the beginning of the season,” Cain said. “We took a couple early losses against Murrieta Mesa, Foothill and Edison. It was after that that the team learned how important it was to work together. When we only do a two-person game… at some point, you have to have other players step up and make that change.”
The spark for San Clemente’s offense truly came on the draws, as senior Emma Massamiri was the go-to for the Tritons to gain control. Massamiri was nails on the draw controls and set the pace to get San Clemente off and running.
“She’s really a big glue for us,” Cain said. “She fits in wherever we need it. She’s got the highest lacrosse IQ of our group. She knows what it takes to get the other girls open and get goals.”
That quick-working, team-focused approach will be the way for the Tritons on Friday, as they likely host the two-time reigning CIF-SS Division 1 champion Foothill in the semifinals. Foothill hosted Mira Costa in the first round on Tuesday, May 2, but results were not available at press time.
San Clemente played Foothill closer than any other CIF-SS team this season in an 11-7 loss at Foothill on Feb. 28.
“I think if we play like we played today, we have a good shot at beating them,” Cain said. “The first time we played them, we weren’t really working together as a team. That was a real big jump (for the rest of the season). We learned from that game.”