LAGUNA HILLS — Corona del Mar High proved this regular season and the last one that it can beat Foothill in boys’ lacrosse.
When it comes to the big game in Orange County, that‘s a different story.
The top tag in the U.S. Lacrosse Orange County Southern Section Division I playoffs usually belongs to the Knights. That’s how it played out for the fourth straight time Tuesday night.
The Sea Kings earned the top seed for the second straight season, and for the second time, they fell to No. 2.
The Knights won their fourth consecutive county crown, beating CdM, 14-11, in front of 2,633 fans at Laguna Hills High.
“It’s something that’s going to stick with all of us for the rest of our lives,” CdM senior Ryan Mix said of losing to the Knights in the title game the past two seasons. “To be here tonight, that’s a championship in itself.”
Mix said many doubted the Sea Kings’ chances at returning to the championship.
CdM (18-3) made a valiant run and earned a second trip. Getting back wasn’t enough, though.
“They have four pieces of metal in their fingers to prove it,” Mix said.
The Sea Kings are still searching for their first ring. They put up a fight after going down by three goals early.
In the fourth quarter, Mix helped CdM tie the game. One minute in, Mix assisted on Jack Ortlieb’s goal that made it 9-9. CdM just couldn’t stop the Knights’ attack. No one had an answer for Eric Adamson.
Adamson scored two of his five goals at the right time in the fourth. The goals came after the Sea Kings evened things up. In a 72-second span, Adamson gave Foothill (17-4) the lead for good.
CdM Coach G.W. Mix wasn’t expecting Adamson, a junior, to record a career night.
“In championship games and in big games, it’s usually the other guy that steps up and gets it done,” Mix said. “Our goal was to not get beat by the guys we know could beat us.”
The Sea Kings’ defense focused on Cameron Cole, who scorched CdM in last season’s finale. Cole this time started the fireworks early, scoring twice and adding an assist as the Knights took a 5-2 lead in the opening quarter.
Cole never scored again. The Knights didn’t need him to because Adamson, Cooper Pickell and Taylor Deberry picked up the offensive slack in the second half.
Deberry scored once in the third and fourth quarter. Deberry’s biggest goal was the one that pushed Foothill’s lead to 13-11 with 3:42 left to play. CdM’s Daniel Noto had trimmed the advantage to one 80 seconds earlier.
The Knights took advantage of CdM’s pressure defense. They quickly counterattacked after the Sea Kings turned the ball over.
In a matter of seconds, Pickell had the ball in the attacking zone with no one nearby. With the goalie out of position, Pickell easily beat him.
“They scored a lot of goals in transition,” Ryan Mix said. “We 10-man ride. We live by the sword and die by the sword. They had us tonight.”
Make that the past two years in the big game.