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CdM girls’ lacrosse wins inaugural CIF Division 2 title

Fans and Corona del Mar girls' lacrosse players celebrate after beating Canyon on Wednesday.
Fans and Corona del Mar High girls’ lacrosse players celebrate after beating Canyon in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 girls’ lacrosse championship match on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

In a manner of speaking, the Corona del Mar High School girls’ lacrosse team had unfinished business.

When last season ended abruptly due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Sea Kings were the top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 poll.

More than a year later, the Sea Kings finished the job.

Sophomore Frankie Garcia and junior Amanda Cord each scored three goals to lead the host Sea Kings over top-seeded Canyon 12-8 Wednesday evening in the inaugural Division 2 championship match.

Corona del Mar's Kate Kittleson hugs Ellie Spotts (70) after beating Canyon in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 final.
Corona del Mar’s Kate Kittleson hugs Ellie Spotts (70) on Wednesday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“There is no trophy that looks like this in the world,” CIF Assistant Commissioner Thom Simmons said during a trophy presentation at midfield.

Simmons added that girls’ lacrosse has been a CIF sport for 16 years, but the threshold of participating schools was recently reached to allow for section championships to take place. Last season would have been the first before the pandemic sidelined all spring sports.

“Before the game, I took the girls into our gym where all the banners are held,” CdM coach Jessica Murray said.

“I said, ‘Look around. What don’t you see? No CIF girls’ lacrosse banner, and that’s not because we’ve never won it. It’s because it’s never happened, and let’s be that team that brings it home first.’”

Senior Shelby Glabman scored two goals, and Abby Grace, Elysia Samen, Belle Grace and Megan Schafer each had one goal for CdM (17-5). Kate Kittleson also had a pair of assists.

Corona del Mar's Abby Grace, center, battles with Canyon's Lindsay Parsons, left, and Calle Bandong.
Corona del Mar’s Abby Grace, center, battles with Canyon’s Lindsay Parsons, left, and Calle Bandong.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“It feels really good,” Garcia said following the win. “We’ve worked really hard this season, and especially because it was a weird season, I think it all paid off in the end, and we’re really excited about it.”

The sideline emptied out onto the field as time expired, spectators rushing out to congratulate the Sea Kings in front of their own net.

“It gives a lot of motivation to know that we have supporters,” Garcia said. “It’s not just us. It’s the whole school.”

Corona del Mar held a 5-4 lead at halftime. The Sea Kings were finally able to get some separation midway through the second half.

Canyon (18-6) hit the post at one end. Kittleson picked up the rebound and sent it ahead to Glabman, who scored on the counterattack.

Corona del Mar's Haile Franklin, right, celebrates with Shelby Glabman, left, after Glabman scored a goal against Canyon.
Corona del Mar’s Haile Franklin, right, celebrates with Shelby Glabman, left, after Glabman scored a goal against Canyon.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“That was the best feeling ever, and I want to just thank our goalie Ellie Spotts,” Glabman said. “She’s amazing.”

Spotts, a junior, made six saves, including four from the free position.

Natalie Ringdahl recorded a hat trick, and Sheridan Koenig had two goals for Canyon.

Corona del Mar's Amanda Cord takes a shot under pressure from Canyon's Jenna Bradford, left, and Natalie Ringdahl.
Corona del Mar’s Amanda Cord takes a shot under pressure from Canyon’s Jenna Bradford, left, and Natalie Ringdahl.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

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