SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — The celebratory post-match hoots and hugs were atypical of a first-round league game, even one that decided first place in the Academy League standings.
But it was clear from the outset that host St. Margaret's viewed Friday night's showdown with Sage Hill as anything but typical.
The result was a dominant 4-1 triumph for the Tartans (9-5-1, 3-0-1 in league), who avenged two losses to the Lightning (5-3-2, 2-1-1) last season.
The two Sage victories over St. Margaret's had, in fact, represented a recent trend. In eight league games over the previous four seasons, the Lightning had posted a 5-2-1 record against the Tartans. St. Margaret's was 28-2-1 against the rest of the league during those same four seasons.
"It feels good to beat our rival," St. Margaret's Coach Mike Mercer said after the Tartans produced a 20-3 advantage in shots and also accounted for the lone Sage Hill tally with an own goal. "Tonight was obviously a big deal, because it helped us stay in first. But it also got the monkey off our back [the recent futility against Sage]."
Sage Coach Ignacio Cid acknowledged his team's drubbing, which included a pair of beautiful goals by Tartans' junior David "Chuy" Field.
"I take my hat off to them," Cid said of the Tartans. "They did a really good job. They were organized and they did everything right. We were missing a step today. But I think we'll take something out of the game and get better."
Field, who now has seven goals and eight assists this season, said he did not recall any better goals than his two Friday. The first was a bending free kick from 12 yards out that went around a three-man Sage Hill wall and into the upper right corner of the net to make it 2-0 in the 28th minute.
The second came on a booming, one-touch blast from the top of the box in the 51st minute that upped the lead to 3-1.
"That [first goal] was probably the best one I've ever scored and the second one was probably right up there, too," Field said.
"Those two rockets definitely changed the game," Mercer said of Field's goals.
Jack Percival made a handful of long runs through the defense to account for Sage's best offensive thrusts, while Cid credited seniors Colton Gyulay and Taylor Ross for providing their usual strong play.
The two teams meet again Feb. 8 at Sage Hill.