Los Alamitos scored two goals inside of 30 seconds in the second quarter, its physical defense did not allow a goal in the fourth quarter and only one goal in the final 25 minutes, and its offense dominated possession and outshot its opponent by four.
And the Griffins lost.
It was Tesoro that won an important early-season matchup of emerging Orange County boys high school lacrosse powerhouses. The Titans scored five unanswered goals and also shut out their opponent in the fourth quarter to slip past Los Alamitos, 6-4, Wednesday afternoon at Tesoro High.
Chase Warner secured the victory with an unassisted goal with 32 seconds left in the third quarter to give Tesoro the 6-4 lead. It was his second goal of the match. The Titans built a 5-1 advantage with 1:05 left before halftime. Sage Devault, Brett Burkholder, Matthew Costanzo, Warner and Jake Douglas scored in succession.
“We did a pretty good job eventually,” Tesoro coach Brian Eisenberg said. “I’m glad we put them away when we did. They are a quality team. We played good defense. I could feel we had momentum [at halftime]. We gave it our best.”
The Griffins appeared to take that momentum away in the final half-minute of the first half. Steve Brandenburg scored with 31 seconds left, then Sean Parker passed to Ozzie Hyde, who scored with 6.7 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Los Alamitos closed to within a goal when Mark Lowrimore scored with a man advantage off Parker’s second assist, but the Griffins fell short as Titans goalkeeper Tanner Knego came up with two critical saves and got some favorable bounces off the post in the final two minutes to finish with five saves.
Griffins goalkeeper Mitchell Dutton also played excellently in recording seven saves. The six goals allowed by Tesoro were five less than its season average of 11.
“We came out flat in the second half and pushed it up [in the fourth quarter], but it was too late,” lamented Griffins coach Ben Barchey.
The loss to Tesoro wasn’t the only bad news for Los Alamitos this week. In the first in-season poll by the Orange County Chapter of U.S. Lacrosse, Los Alamitos had plummeted to No. 10 from No. 5 in the preseason poll, the largest drop of any team.
However, Tesoro (3-2) did not escape the rankings unscathed. The Titans are a notch above Los Alamitos at No. 9, but dropped one spot from its place in the preseason poll. They can do something about that Thursday when they host El Toro, this week’s biggest mover in the polls to No. 2 from No. 7, at 5:30 p.m.
“All these teams are tough and we have a tough one tomorrow [Thursday],” Eisenberg said. “I feel real confident about our team.”