LAX: Royals win historic matchup with Dons

San Marcos' Justin Lehman slips through two Santa Barbara high defenders on his way to scoring the game's first goal. (Presidio Sports Photos)

San Marcos’ Justin Lehman slips through two Santa Barbara high defenders on his way to scoring the game’s first goal. (Presidio Sports Photos)


San Marcos’ Justin Lehman and Jack Palmer combined for five goals on Tuesday as the Royals defeated Santa Barbara, 9-4, in the first official lacrosse game between the two schools.

Lacrosse is a new CIF-sanctioned sport at San Marcos, Santa Barbara High and Dos Pueblos this spring. It’s the first new CIF sport introduced at the local public high schools since girls golf was installed in 1999.

“It’s really cool because we’re making history out here. First team, first CIF (public school) team in the Santa Barbara area,” said Royals senior captain Colin Welsh.

San Marcos, which led 5-2 at halftime, can say it won the first game.

“It felt really good. We were a club kind of team last year but now it’s official. It feels good to win and be out there with your teammates,” Welsh said.

For San Marcos head coach Rick Lehman, who is also President of the Santa Barbara Lacrosse Association, it was a dream come true.

“I moved here six years ago and as the President of the Santa Barbara Lacrosse Association this was my dream. I didn’t think we’d get here this quickly – it just shows the growth of the game,” Lehman said.

Lehman said he’s coached some of the Santa Barbara High players in the past and, despite the win, it was just all positive emotions seeing the two teams compete.

“I’ve coached a number of those guys and so it’s really great to see them playing at this level. All in all, that was a pretty decent level lacrosse game. If you watch college lacrosse, obviously the stick skills were not there yet, but there was a lot of good things that looked like you were watching TV for awhile there,” Lehman said.

Santa Barbara led 2-1 in the first quarter but wore down as the match progressed. The Dons had only three reserves on their bench compared to 13 for San Marcos.

“I really couldn’t be happier with my guys,” said Dons head coach Mike Terry. “They pretty much ran us into the ground. First and second quarter we were with them but third quarter they went deep into their bench and pretty much outdid our middies. It’s kind of hard to play the game with only four midfielders but we’re going to make it work somehow.”

San Marcos took control late in the first half when Palmer and Lehman scored in the final three minutes and 15 seconds to give the Royals a 5-2 halftime lead. Lehman whipped in his second goal at the buzzer from 30 feet away.

Santa Barbara scored first in the third quarter only to allow Lehman to score again on an assist by Liam Gallant. Then Lehman returned the favor by assisting on San Marcos’ next goal by Dylan Kitao.

“We had really good ball movement and we got the whole team involved,” Coach Lehman said.

Freshman Trey Tank also scored for the Royals, who dominated possession during the fourth quarter and successfully slowed the game down to limit Santa Barbara’s ability to rally.

Santa Barbara’s Hans Fedyk led the Dons in scoring with three goals. Sophomore captain Will Beigthol added a goal and had an impact on the game playing defensive middie and taking draws. Another Dons sophomore midfielder, Elyjah Klopp, drew praise from Terry.

The Dons can rebound on Thursday in their next game against Dos Pueblos.

San Marcos travels for its next game at Royal on Friday.


  1. Diane Bucka says

    Having “fought this fight” for Irvine schools here in So Cal, I’m thrilled to see the sport growing and more CIF-sanctioned lacrosse teams!

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