Brian Dunn said it has been 15 years since he helped create the club lacrosse program at Corona del Mar High. For Dunn, a defensive end for the Sea Kings football team at the time, it was something that seemed fun to do during the football offseason.
Dunn returned to the CdM campus on Saturday afternoon. In his third year as the Tesoro boys’ lacrosse coach, he’s helping build another program.
Dunn’s Titans got it done against his alma mater, earning a 10-8 nonleague win that he said is Tesoro’s first victory over Corona del Mar in program history.
“It’s incredible,” said Dunn, who graduated from CdM in 2004. “Having started the program, seeing what it was at that point and what it is now, it fills me with pride to come back here and be able to play this team. It’s definitely a special thing. I’ve got a ton of fond memories playing football and lacrosse on this field. It’s definitely special to come back here and get the win.”
Seniors Jason Moreta and Jonathan Gibson each scored three goals for Tesoro (10-0), which rallied in the fourth quarter against CdM (4-6). Neither team had a lead of more than two goals throughout the game, but it was the Sea Kings who took an 8-7 advantage with 8:24 remaining in the fourth quarter when Aidan Kelly scored his second goal, assisted by fellow sophomore Chandler Fincher.
But CdM wouldn’t score again, while Tesoro struck three times in three minutes. The Titans used goals by Moreta and junior Carson Spooner to take the lead. Then Spooner fed Gibson in front to make it 10-8 Tesoro with 3:39 remaining.
The young Sea Kings also hurt themselves with two penalties, one for conduct and one for holding, in the fourth quarter.
“We get that cleaned up, we’ll be headed in the right direction for sure,” CdM coach G.W. Mix said. “We’ve got a lot of inexperienced guys. We’re taking baby steps. I think the fact that we’re in a tie game in the fourth quarter with a team that’s ranked third in the county, that’s a pretty good indicator that we’re getting better.”
Mix called timeout with 3:24 remaining to set up a play. Around a minute later, Simon Hall’s low shot was handled by Tesoro senior goalkeeper Hunter Souza, who made five of his 10 saves in the fourth quarter.
CdM junior keeper Kyle Cord also had a standout game with 13 saves, including eight in the second quarter alone.
Of the Sea Kings’ eight goals, seven came from sophomores, as Fincher, Kelly and Hall tallied two each and Ryan Rector added one.
Senior midfielder Bobby Purcifull also scored for CdM while senior attack Eric Fries had two assists. Senior Devon Linkon also had an assist.
“Certainly the future looks good,” Mix said. “We’ve just got to press on and go a little bit harder and faster, so that the future gets here sooner rather than later.”
Although the Sea Kings failed to pull off the upset win, Mix said he’s happy for Dunn and the Titans.
“We are proud of him as a CdM alum,” Mix said. “We don’t want to see [him beating us] happen too often, but we’ll give him one and congratulate him.”