Coach Aly Simons is used to meeting with her Corona del Mar High girls’ lacrosse team in the southwest corner of the Beckman field following a Pacific Coast League game.
Simons has won at Beckman just once in her 10-year tenure. It came last year, when the Sea Kings won the only outright league title in program history.
After a 7-6 overtime loss at Beckman on Wednesday, Simons huddled the Sea Kings in the corner for what will be the final time on that field with her in charge. She announced after the game that she is stepping down after the season to spend more time with family.
Simons has two young children at home, her 2-year-old daughter Cooper and her 6-month-old son Clark. She said she decided this season would be her final one last summer, but she told her players the news on Tuesday.
“I have my Masters in social work [from UCLA], and so I really want to start dabbling back in social work and just be home and focused on these kiddos,” said Simons, adding that she’s leaving the program in good hands since assistant coaches Jessica Murray and Jackie Grabowski both want to stay. “I know there’s a time and a place that I’ll eventually come back to coaching.”
Simons said she really wanted to win her final game at rival Beckman. Instead, the Patriots (8-4, 5-0 in league) beat the Sea Kings (4-7, 4-2) for the second time this season and emerged as clear favorites for their own outright league crown. Beckman beat CdM by the same 7-6 overtime score at the Sea Kings’ field on March 19.
Junior Carly Tobias scored the game-winner for the Patriots on Wednesday, assisted by senior Taylor Stern, with 2:26 remaining in the three-minute sudden-death overtime period. It was Tobias’ game-high third goal.
But Simons said she was proud of her team, which was short-handed. She said senior captain Emily Cannon missed the game after recently having surgery to remove a growth on her tailbone.
Junior Joslyn Simaan scored twice for the Sea Kings, who got a goal and an assist from sophomore Caroline Brewster and a goal from junior Ellery Amdor. Senior goalkeeper Ashley Olson made 10 saves, including two in the final minute of regulation to force overtime.
Brewster, a quickly emerging player for the Sea Kings this season, won five of her team’s seven draws controlled.
CdM had battled back from a first-half deficit, scoring four straight goals for a 5-3 halftime lead when another senior captain, Emily Faludy, scored with one second left in the half.
“It’s interesting to me how you can lose games but still be proud of them, and win games but not be proud of them,” Simons said. “I feel like there’s been plenty of games that we have lost here and not been proud, but I don’t think this is one of them. I think we were patient on both ends, defense was patient and offense was patient.”
Simons said that CdM was holding the ball for the last shot in the final two minutes of regulation, but an errant pass led to a turnover. The Sea Kings did not have the ball in the overtime, after Stern won the initial draw.
CdM still will have more opportunities to impress in Simons’ final season, though. The Sea Kings play at Mater Dei on Friday at 2:30 p.m. in a nonleague game.
Faludy said she expects the team to be ready.
“Obviously, we all wanted to win today, but I just wanted to be proud of how we walked off the field and how we played,” Faludy said. “We completed that goal. I’m really pleased with how we played, and I have confidence going in to play Mater Dei. It’s super-exciting.”