By Galilea Oregon
Following a second victory against El Modena this Monday, Tustin High School took on Notre Dame High School this past Tuesday in hopes to secure another victory for the season. The heat proved to be a blaring obstacle for the Tillers.
The game began with midfielder Lisbeth Cabrera (#9) on draw. With midfielder Citlaly Rodriguez (#3) on the draw circle, it appeared as if Tustin was going to gain ball possession instantly. But with a miscalculated cradle, Notre Dame stole the ball, preparing for the arduous sprint down the field. But Cabrera (#9) was able to intercept a pass, and run it back down the opposite side of the field. With a quick pass to attacker Samantha Cantoran (#16), the Tillers appeared ready to make their first goal. Unfortunately, Cantoran’s (#16) shot was no match for Notre Dame’s goalie, who, without batting an eye, blocked the ball instantly. Midfielder and co-captain, Andrea Palma (#7), was readying to take on the rebound. But with the Knights’ impregnable defense, Palma (#7) could not move forward and took a desperate shot at goal just outside the 12-meter arc. The ball hit the side pole of the goal, and Notre Dame’s midfielder #1 scooped up the ground ball just in time and sprinted down the field undefended. Tustin’s defense assembled for the crash, but #1’s dodges were perfect, aiding her in scoring the first goal of the game, putting the Notre Dame Knights in the lead,1 to 0.
At the draw, Cabrera (#9) and Rodriguez (#3) were ready to move the ball for Tustin. As expected, Rodriguez (#3) caught the ball as soon as it went into the air, pushing past a double team, switching possession back to Notre Dame. #1 yet again took the ball, evading Tustin’s defense effortlessly. Her shot at goal was stopped by the keep, but Notre Dame’s teamwork proved to be a challenging force for the Tillers. A missed crease roll by #3 put the ball into the #10’s stick who caught the Tustin defense off guard, scoring Notre Dame’s second goal. By the third draw, it was clear that Notre Dame had the upper hand, but the Tillers refused to give up. Samantha Hernandez (#4) took the ball, but struggled to get past Notre Dame’s freakishly fast midfielders who stick-checked mercilessly. Then for a second time, midfielder #1 took the ball with Rodriguez (#3) trailing behind. At the blink of an eye she had scored Notre Dame’s third goal.
A timeout was called by Coach Max Maldonado, to recollect and reorganize the Tillers’ play. Rodriguez (#3) was put into the draw, in hopes that her aggressive play would intimidate the Knights. But this was no game changer: Notre Dame’s #4 gained ball possession for the Knights and used a similar tactic to #1; running down the field and utilizing her speed to avoid any defenders in her way. She scored a fourth goal for Notre Dame. And then she did that same exact thing again, making a fifth goal for the Knights. The Knights’ communication helped them greatly when it came to passing, rebounding shots, and executing double teams, as proved through #1, #4, and #10. These three players alone were worrisome for the Tillers, constantly moving the ball down field with ease and nonchalance. #10, for example, scored her second goal and the Knights’ sixth goal through a seamless crease roll.
Then finally, defender Melody Velasco (#14) took on the ball at the drawn and passed it to Rodriguez (#3), who finally scored Tustin’s first goal, a mere six minutes before the end of the half.
Within fifteen seconds into the second half, the Notre Dame Knights had already made a seventh goal, shot by #4, earning a hat trick. Then, after a few shotty passes made by Tustin following the draw, Cantoran (#16) passed the ball over the X, behind the goal, to attacker Jazmine Martinez (#19), who quick-sticked the ball into the Notre Dame goal, making a long awaited goal for the Tillers. Shortly after, Hernandez (#4) made a return after missing a shot, finally scoring another goal for Tustin, keeping Notre Dame in the lead, 7 to 3.
At the draw, both Tustin and Notre Dame struggled and fought with all their might to keep possession. But Tustin dropped the ball, literally, allowing Notre Dame’s #1 to score an eighth goal, earning a hat trick for herself as well. Immediately after, #18 took on ball possession, scoring an effortless ninth goal for the Knights. And she came back, one last time, sprinting the ball down the field, making a tenth goal for Notre Dame. At the final draw, Rodriguez fought for the ball, taking it down the field, undefended, making a fourth and final goal for the Tustin Tillers. Notre Dame was the obvious winner, with 10 to 4 goals against Tustin.
The Tillers’ skills were unfortunately unmatched to the seamless play Notre Dame brought to the field on Tuesday. But their perseverance and drive proved that Tustin’s Girls’ Lacrosse is a force to be reckoned with, with just a little more focus on, “improving communication and perfecting the fundamental skills, [they] have it in [them] to truly succeed,” as explained by Cantoran.