Facing off against St. Monica for the second time in eight days, Valencia girls lacrosse welcomed the Crusaders to Valencia on Wednesday.
Getting off to a slow start due to some upfront errors, the Vikings pulled themselves together defensively and defeated St. Monica decisively 19-7.
“We let them score four times in the first and then our defense pulled it together,” said Valencia head coach Cynthia Hasseman. “We got off to a rough start, but then came back offensively much stronger.”
Employing a myriad of first-year players like: Trinity Custodia, Bree Weber, Miranda Haynie, Tatum Araki, Jayden Yamasaki, Sierra Sahagun and Cambria Lawrence, who are all freshmen, and sophomore Lea Hwang and junior Katherine Testa, Hasseman was able to rearrange the lineup using players who usually don’t play with each other to get the right fit.
“My first-year players are coming in with a lot of aggression and speed,” Hasseman said. “They are amazing with the hustle, getting the ground balls and really being great with footwork and with defense as well.”
At halftime, the Vikings (5-2 overall, 0-0 in Foothill League) led St. Monica 12-4.
Using Monday’s loss to West Ranch as motivation, Valencia’s offense was clicking on all cylinders against St. Monica (4-6, 1-0 in Freelance League), leading to four hat tricks.
Sydney Sullivan, Katherine Lin, Katie Von Mecklenburg and Kathleen Bambrick each scored three goals, while Lin poured in a game-high five goals.
“Katie also won 24-of-27 draws, so that offensive control was there right from the get-go and that was huge,” Hasseman said.
Hwang and Jennifer Elliott scored two each and Yamasaki one in the win.
“There were some offensive errors that occurred from West Ranch that we corrected,” Hasseman said. “The girls have been playing very strong. West Ranch is a strong team and our girls held their own in the first half and still held strong in the second half.”
Valencia goalkeeper Marissa Hasseman finished the game stopping 8-of-15 shots on goal for a 53 percent save rate.
“The national save percentage average is right around 40 percent, so I’m hoping for 50 to 60 percent minimum from her,” the coach said.
The Vikings have a tough three-game stretch next week heading out on the road against La Canada on Monday and then finish up the week with home games against Oaks Christian on Wednesday and Birmingham on Friday.
“We have a very rough week next week,” Hasseman said. “We are going to start off next week with La Canada which will be a fun, good game. Then Oaks Christian and Birmingham. Both of those teams are ranked higher than us, so we will have our work cut out for those last two games. Especially because I have so many young girls on the team.”
Winning two of the last three games, Valencia is starting to develop chemistry on both sides and will only continue to improve.
“Really it was just the defensive and offensive strategy that has improved with these girls and the chemistry of them working together is amazing,” Hasseman said. “They are really working well together this year.”