The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
As the 2022 lacrosse season is nearing the end of its first full year of Moore League, Wilson is close to achieving an undefeated title after a 13-10 win against Millikan on Tuesday.
“We knew a lot was on the line today, so Wilson came out with a different attitude and they played so hard out on the field,” said Wilson coach Victor Escoto. “Our defense was amazing. We’ve made more changes as the teams get tougher and Millikan is the toughest in Moore League and they gave us a good run for our money today.”
Millikan began the first half strong as Estrella Xelhuantzi scored first goal of the evening. The Rams made clean, direct passes that allowed them to transition the ball quickly onto the opponents’ field, putting significant pressure on Wilson’s defense. However, Tatiana Cortes would but her team on the board as she drove into the eight meter to put the Bruins at 1-1 with 18 minutes left of the first half.
Throughout the beginning 25 minutes, the Rams fought hard as Delaney Haubert and Carly Brenner scored to put themselves up 4-1, while defense and goalie Alondra Pinzon kept the Bruins at bay despite Wilson outshooting Millikan. However, the Bruins successfully made three interceptions and strategically utilized their field space to tie the game 5-5.
Angie Membrano supported the Bruins as her placement of the ball allowed them to win a majority of the draws. However, the Rams would put intense pressure on the Bruins, triple teaming their attack to stop their momentum. Cortes’ smooth roll dodges and Cyan Fellows’ hustle from defensive to single-handedly score a shot forced Millikan to take a timeout with 18 minutes left of the game.
Membrano scored three out of four of her shots in the second half, as she was given multiple free position opportunities and took advantage of them. Charlie Chambers also made the last goal for the Bruins that night, putting the score up at 13-8.
“I thought we fought really hard today,” Chambers said. “We’ve been preparing for this forever. This was all we needed to just win, and it’s just really fulfilling my first year of playing [lacrosse].”
Nevertheless, the Bruins would not be outdone by Haubert, who also made a successful low shot and scored on two free positions to earn a hat trick as well.
“Honestly I was really tired at the moment,” Haubert commented in regards to her free position shots. “When I was a junior, I used to get in my head thinking, ‘Oh I need to make this,’ and if I didn’t, I would get really upset with myself but you just have to think about it in a way that’s just ‘This is your chance to do what you love. Place it in a good position and one thing that I’ve learned is look at a corner; choose that corner and go after it.’”
With one last game against Lakewood for the Bruins, Wilson hopes to end the first Moore League season undefeated.
“I’m so excited,” said Coach Escoto. “I started this program six years ago [at Wilson]. I knew that somebody was going to claim the first Moore League title and then COVID… COVID got in the way for a couple of years but we came back strong and we have a good chance of winning the Moore League. Lakewood is a strong team and they’re a new team and a building team, and I’m excited for the challenge for sure.”