By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Valencia girls lacrosse (7-11, 5-1) defeated the visiting West Ranch (7-9, 5-1) 8-6 on Wednesday, clinching yet another Foothill League title.
Trinity Custodia and Miranda Haynie led the team with two goals apiece.
The Vikings were walloped in their first league matchup with the Wildcats, 16-8. The team dealt with nagging injuries all year but grinded to get the promise land.
Valencia got on top quickly and almost had the game look like a runaway after they went up four goals to none in the first half.
West Ranch adjusted and went on their own four-goal run to tie the game in the second half.
“Last night’s game was definitely electric,” said Valencia interim head coach Brett Custodia. “The energy and enthusiasm was off the charts for both sides knowing very well what was at stake. It was exceedingly important for Valencia as it was Senior Night for nine of our players and we just wanted to end the regular season on a high note.”
Lainey Steier and Trinity then responded with the go-ahead goals and although West Ranch would score a little more in the game, Valencia kept their opposition at an arm’s length.
These teams know each other well, as any top-two teams in their league should.
Coach Custodia praised his defense for neutralizing the Wildcats’ key offensive threats.
Vikings goalie Gianna PruDe was also on fire. The freshman keeper racked up 12 saves and held a West Ranch team that averages over 13 goals a game to just six.
“I point the source of success to our program to coach Hasseman, our previous coach as well as coach Chelminiak and coaching staff from West Ranch,” said Brett. “While we are historically school rivals we share a vested interest in developing these athletes into strong independent young women in the hopes of helping them succeed in their future lives.”
Both teams will head into playoffs at home on Thursday. Valencia will host Mira Costa while West Ranch faces Corona Del Mar.
“I think going into playoffs, the biggest factors that play into success are heart and trust in each other’s teammates,” said Brett. “As the playing field levels with equal competition it’s a team’s ability to play together with heart and trust in each other that will always be the difference.”