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Aliso Niguel holds on for big road victory
LOS ANGELES - The goal was simple for Aliso Niguel boys lacrosse coach Pat Jenkins heading into Wednesday’s nonleague game against Loyola of Los Angeles.
“We wanted a W,” he said. “They came down to us last year and handled us in the first half last year. So coming back out here and getting the W, was what we wanted first and foremost.
Even though he wasn’t able to fully celebrate until the final seconds ran out, Jenkins and the eighth-ranked Wolverines (7-4) did get their victory, leaving the field satisfied with a 13-12 road triumph over the top-ranked Loyola Cubs (9-1).
“A lot of guys look at us, we have Jonah (Rinaldi) and some other star players and you think it is just going to go through those guys, but like I told them it is going to come down to a team effort,” Jenkins said. “If we’re not working for each other and if it isn’t the entire working together, then we’re going to have issues.
“We really did that (working together), especially in the second half.”
Aliso Niguel went into halftime tied 6-6 and allowed the first goal in the third period. The Wolverines then scored four consecutive (two from Jake Lombardo and one each from Michael Marino and Jeremy Traub) to the lead for good, 10-7 with 6:52 left in the third.
“Once it was a 50-50 game going into halftime, we knew that if we cut out the mistakes, it was our game to lose,” Jenkins said.
Each time Loyola attempted to tie the game, Aliso Niguel had an answer. The Cubs scored a pair of goals to close out the third period, cutting the score to 10-9. The Wolverines responded early in the fourth with goals from Max Kamper and Garrett Hoang for a 12-9 lead.
Later, Hoang scored off of an assist from Rinaldi to give the Wolverines a 13-10 lead with 1:41 left. From there, things became a bit interesting.
Jonathan Partamian scored for the Cubs with 1:41 left. Ryder Mora followed with 31 seconds remaining, cutting the score to 13-12.
The Cubs won the ensuing face-off, but couldn’t get a shot on goal and Wolverines were able to regain possession and run out the clock.
Rinaldi led the Wolverines with three goals. Matt Jones added two along with Lombardo and Hoang, four others had a goal apiece.
Austin Stahl had 12 saves for Aliso Niguel.
“The key for us was moving off the ball and working as a team,” senior midfielder and captain Jones said. “We’re a unique team if we score going into halftime or the first goal after halftime, we sort of keep that momentum going throughout the rest of the game.
“We proved we could win it in the second half and we did it. I think this victory proved that we can play with some of the tougher teams.”