It is a year of change for the Corona del Mar High girls’ lacrosse team.
The Sea Kings have a new coach in Jessica Murray, a longtime assistant who took over the head job when Aly Simons resigned after 10 seasons.
CdM also left the Pacific Coast League for the Sunset League. Edison is another team that joined the Sunset League, but that’s because this is just the second year that it has had a program.
The Sea Kings and Chargers met Thursday night, and it was close — for a half.
Junior Caroline Brewster scored five goals as CdM pulled away for an 11-6 victory on the Chargers’ field.
CdM (3-3, 2-0 in league), which opened league with a forfeit win over Laguna Beach last week, has had an up-and-down start to the season. Murray attributed much of that to a difficult schedule.
Junior midfielder Paige Wood added three goals and senior defender Joslyn Simaan added two for CdM, which led just 5-4 late in the first half before pulling away.
“I felt like this is the first game that our team fully connected all together,” Simaan said. “Our first couple of games were just like it was the start of the season, trying to get into it. This game, I felt very connected as a team and I feel like we worked together very well. It just gets me very excited for the rest of the season.”
Simaan is one of three team captains for CdM, along with senior defender Simone Oberreiter and senior goalkeeper Katie Langley, who made nine saves. The defense was stout, allowing just two goals in the final 29-plus minutes of the game.
“I think defense as a whole today, we really communicated well,” said Brewster, who led the Sea Kings with three ground balls. “We got our sticks up and wanted to get the ball back, so that was really important.”
Getting back to full strength helped. Murray said that Oberreiter returned Thursday after a four-game absence due to attending a Model U.N. conference in New York.
“She’s one of our captains and she’s a really good leader back there,” Simaan said. “Communication is really key to defense, and she’s just very loud and very good at what she does.”
Edison (9-2, 0-1) has not had a particularly difficult nonleague campaign, but the Chargers have an impressive record and were competitive in their league opener. Sophomore Ali Bryant scored twice while senior Annie Cavener, sophomore Blakely Malpass, freshman Gwen Ontiveros and sophomore Savanna Buyan added one goal each.
Ontiveros’ goal with 9:22 left in the second half stopped a five-goal streak by CdM and brought the Chargers within 10-5, but they ran out of time.
“It was a good try,” Edison coach Rob Hendrix said aloud, clapping his hands with less than two minutes left as he came toward the scorer’s table. “We’re playing better.”
Senior Keena Colamonico made six saves for Edison, which continues league play at Laguna Beach on March 21.
CdM has nonleague home games against Corona Santiago on Saturday and San Clemente on Tuesday before playing at Newport Harbor on March 21 at 6 p.m. in the annual Battle of the Bay rivalry game.
The game will be the league opener for Newport Harbor.