A key moment occurred in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s Battle of the Bay boys’ lacrosse game at Corona del Mar High.
CdM junior Kenan Ressler spun away from several defenders to score with 9:07 remaining. The move was good, too good for Newport Harbor coach Mark Todd, who asked the referee to inspect Ressler’s stick.
“The guy ran through five players and scored a goal after everybody checked his stick,” Todd said. “I kind of sensed that it might be illegal, and it was. And I was out of timeouts, so I used it as another timeout.”
The Sea Kings, nursing a three-goal lead, were assessed a three-minute penalty. For Newport Harbor, it was a chance to pull even closer. But for CdM, it was a chance for a young but improving defense to shine.
CdM held Newport Harbor scoreless throughout the penalty time on its way to an 11-5 victory. It is the Sea Kings’ 13th straight Battle of the Bay win over the Sailors.
Early in the season, the Sea Kings stayed undefeated at 3-0. Seniors Eric Fries and Bobby Purcifull, as well as sophomore Chandler Fincher, all led the way with three goals each.
“[Newport Harbor] did a nice job,” CdM coach G.W. Mix said. “They have some really nice athletes, and they’re well coached. It’s an important game for both teams. A little sloppy at times, but for the most part, I was pleased with it. We try not to focus too much on our opponent, period. We spend a lot of time talking about working on our stuff, what we do, how we compete. We try not to get caught up in rivalry games, what the opponent’s saying or what they’re doing.”
The Sea Kings started out strong, opening a 4-1 lead after the first quarter behind two goals from Fries. The defense, anchored by senior Landon Whitney and junior goalkeeper Kyle Cord (six saves), also stood out.
Two other seniors, football players Cameron Prudhomme and Jack Fairon, played big roles defensively despite limited experience. This is their first year playing lacrosse, and Mix said they just started in mid-January.
“Holding them to five goals is pretty good, especially with Kyle Cord in the goal,” Whitney said. “He brings a lot of intensity, even from the goalie position, and he bails us out on a lot of players. Having him back there is definitely a huge plus for us. It’s not just his saves. He had two or three really good clears, where it creates opportunities for the offense.”
Devon Linkon and Blaine Nelsen also scored for CdM, which opened up a 7-2 lead early in the second half on Fincher’s goal assisted by Nelsen. But Newport Harbor (2-2) battled back. Senior captain Race Mooers and Joe Fuller scored within a minute of each other, bringing the Sailors within three goals.
The CdM lead was still three goals, at 8-5, in the fourth quarter when the illegal stick penalty occurred. Newport Harbor got off six shots in the three-minute span, but the first five were wide and Cord blocked the sixth.
“That’s my fault,” Todd said. “I put in a new man-up play, and obviously our guys weren’t ready for it and comfortable with it. I mean, we had shooting opportunities, but our guys are new to it and they didn’t recognize the opportunities. When we go over it on film, they’ll see it.”
CdM closed out the game with goals from Fries, Nelsen and Purcifull.
Jared Rabin scored twice for Newport Harbor, which plays at Corona Santiago on Saturday at 7 p.m. Hunter Rouch also scored, while sophomore goalkeeper Garrett Rovazzini made 10 saves.
CdM hosts Highland Park, from Amarillo, Texas, on Saturday at noon.