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No. 1 Aliso Niguel, No. 3 San Clemente play to scoreless tie
ALISO VIEJO- A showdown for first place in the South Coast League turned into a battle of wills between San Clemente senior goalie Sheridan Hapsic and Aliso Niguel senior goalie Sammy Prud’homme in which both refused to allow the other team to gain an advantage on the scoreboard.
Hapsic recorded seven saves, while Prud’homme collected six saves, as No. 1 Aliso Niguel and No. 3 San Clemente played to a scoreless tie Tuesday at Aliso Niguel High.
“They generated scoring opportunities off of bad mistakes on our part,” Wolverines coach Randy Dodge said. “These are two of the stingiest defenses in Division 1 that don’t give up a lot of goals.”
With the tie, the Tritons (12-2-5, 3-0-1) maintain a one-point lead over the Wolverines (12-0-4, 2-0-2) for first place as both teams completed the first half of their league schedule and have four league matches remaining.
“It’s always a tremendous battle playing Aliso because their level of intensity is always high,” Tritons coach Stacey Finnerty said. “I thought we played our game in the first half, and the second half, it was back and forth.”
Both teams had early chances to score in the first half. In the ninth minute, Hapsic made diving save to stop a hard line drive shot by Wolverines junior Breanne Chilton-Eddy.
In the 15th minute, Tritons sophomore Ally Lynn sprinted down the sideline on an attack and managed to cross the ball into the middle of the box for teammate Amanda Simkins, but Prud’homme stopped Simkins on her first shot and on her rebound shot attempt.
A minute later, Tritons sophomore Natalie Higgins had a shot stop by Prud’homme on a fully extended dive to the right.
Aliso Niguel had one final scoring chance just before halftime, but a shot by sophomore Dominique Bond-Flasza was stopped by Hapsic.
The Wolverines opened the second half with heavy pressure in the box, but Hapsic came up big again. In the 53rd minute, she once again stopped a hard liner from Chilton-Eddy.
“It’s all about mental focus and seeing the ball,” Hapsic said. “Our defense helped cover me and was a main factor as to why we kept the shutout.”
San Clemente had their best scoring chance of the half in the 57th minute. Off a pass from Tritons freshman Amanda Gerrain, senior Marlee Carrillo had a free run toward the goal. But Prud’homme managed to get in position in front of her and deflect Carrillo’s shot enough to cause it to roll wide of the post.
Both teams produced pressure in the final moments of regulation, but Wolverines senior Jordan Ansara cleared two chances away from the attacking third, while Tritons junior Sydney Fuertes and Hapsic stopped attacking runs by clearing balls away from the goal.
“They (San Clemente) are our archrivals and we don’t like to lose to them just like they don’t like to lose to us,” Prud’homme said.