Girls' lacrosse: Sea Kings continue surge

CORONA DEL MAR — The weather was cool, even misty at times late Saturday afternoon at Corona del Mar High.

This did not matter to the members of the CdM girls' lacrosse team, who wore eye black under their eyes. It's not something the Sea Kings normally do, but then again it's not every day they play rival Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay.

"It's a Harbor special," CdM junior Molly Rovzar said of the eye black.

By the end of the game, the Sea Kings had shown just how special their team is this season. They dominated play, earning a 24-6 victory and their third straight Battle of the Bay win.

Buoyed by an early-season league victory over perennial powerhouse Beckman, Corona del Mar (9-2) is surging this season. But the Sailors (3-10) stayed close early Saturday. Miranda McFarland's goal brought Newport Harbor within 4-3 with 15:30 left in the first half.

"It kind of freaked us out in the beginning," said CdM sophomore midfielder Kacie Kline, who scored twice and dished out three assists. "Everything was super-rushed, but we called a timeout and we got everything together. That's when everything started flowing like it usually does."

Corona del Mar, unfazed, went on an 11-0 run to end the half. By intermission, the game was being played with a running clock. Coach Aly Vislocky, who has been battling sickness, did not have to give too much advice to her team in the second half.

Everyone contributed for the Sea Kings. Rovzar scored a game-high six goals and added two assists. Senior midfielder Gabby Smith, a captain, pitched in four goals and two assists. CdM's other captain, senior attacker Torrey Attyah, dished out five assists before finally scoring her lone goal just before the fourth-quarter buzzer.

"This year, we're just good at transition and connecting our passes," Smith said. "I think that's what sets us apart."

Cassidy Napolitano and Sabrina Smith had three goals for CdM, ranked No. 3 in Southern California by Paige Miller scored twice and led all players with seven ground balls. Amy Burt, Emily Turner and Vanessa Grainger added single goals for CdM, and Kendall Mulvaney had three assists. Goalies Sarah Hostetler (seven saves in the first half) and Brooke Van Hensbergen (two saves in the second half) helped anchor a defense that also prominently featured Kylie Mulvaney, Audrey Doud and Meredith Davin.

McFarland and Taury Hlinka led the Sailors with two goals each, and Nadine Leffler and Yenny Oropeza also scored. Goalie Cailynn Smethhurst made 10 saves.

Newport Harbor Coach Matt Armstrong saw his team, playing without junior defender and team captain Katie Donald (out of town), give up a season-high 24 goals.

"We graduated about nine or 10 seniors last year, so a lot of our girls are just inexperienced," Armstrong said. "We're good sort of hanging with teams at the beginning, but a lot of times we give up a run of goals that we have trouble recovering from. I wouldn't say that's been a pattern this season, but it's happened a couple times."

The Sea Kings just continue building. They look forward to a nonleague showdown against No. 2 Foothill, at CdM on April 13.

"We have the ability to match up with Foothill and Beckman and Los Al, all these teams," Kline said. "It's definitely made our team grow together more and realize how good we actually are."

Don't be surprised if the CdM girls wear eye black again for the showdown.

"We might do it for Foothill," Smith said. "We might. I don't know."

The Sea Kings do know they can rule the bay for another year.

Twitter: @mjszabo

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