The Corona del Mar High boys' lacrosse team is already young this season. Taking away two senior team captains due to injury just seems downright unfair.
But that was the position the Sea Kings found themselves in Saturday, as they played a nonleague game at Trabuco Hills. CdM coach G.W. Mix said the Sea Kings were without senior attack Eric Fries (hamstring) and defender Landon Whitney (bruised arm).
Both of the captains went down in Wednesday's 15-3 home loss to St. Margaret's, the top-ranked team in an Orange County coaches poll. In some years, CdM would be challenging for that title. On Saturday, though, the Sea Kings did post an upset road victory.
Sophomore Simon Hall scored the eventual game-winning goal with 4:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, and No. 7-ranked CdM went on to an 8-7 win at No. 5 Trabuco Hills.
"Every win is a big win," Mix said. "We try not to qualify them. It was important, for sure. It was a game that we felt we had to get, and we got it … [Wins] are difficult for us to get right now. We're awfully young, and the kids that aren't young are hurt for the most part, so it's been a real challenge. The kids just keep trying to find a way, and fortunately today they were to find a way to get it done together. I was proud of them."
Sophomore Chandler Fincher scored three goals for CdM (7-8), while senior Bobby Purcifull and Hall each scored twice. Junior Nick Meisenheimer added a goal for the Sea Kings, who got 11 saves from standout junior goalie Kyle Cord.
The Sea Kings pieced together the win over the Mustangs (10-3). Cord credited the defensive leadership of junior Tate Jackson, who stepped up in Whitney's absence. Mix credited junior Cameron Kayl, who had three caused turnovers and three ground balls while taking Fries' place on the left side of the field.
"He's a tough kid," Mix said. "He's all of about 60 pounds soaking wet, but it didn't seem to matter to him."
Tyler Payne scored three goals for Trabuco Hills, which stormed back from a 6-3 third-quarter deficit by scoring four straight goals. The last one was unlucky for CdM, as a pass from the left by A.J. Switzer deflected off a CdM defenseman's stick and into the net.
But Purcifull's goal with 6:26 left in the game tied the score at 7-7, before Hall put the Sea Kings back up by one.
Trabuco Hills threatened in the final minute, before pressure by CdM's Connor Schimmelpfennig forced a turnover and teammate James Cotton scooped up his third ground ball of the game.
CdM plays at Danville San Ramon Valley on Tuesday at 7 p.m., the first game of its annual spring break road trip that also includes a game at Santa Barbara San Marcos on Thursday.
"We know we're a good team," Purcifull said. "We know we've had a hard time getting there, but we're improving, as you can see. We had a tough loss against St. Margaret's last week, but we're taking that as a challenge to get better."