CdM sets sights on perfection

The closest any team has come to Corona del Mar High in a boys' lacrosse contest was two goals. And that Sea Kings' opponent was from out of state.

No team was able to knock off CdM in the regular season. The Sea Kings (19-0) beat teams from as far as Colorado and the San Francisco Bay Area.

In the next phase of the season, CdM plays teams from Southern California. Staying undefeated against them is far more important to the Sea Kings.

Next for CdM is the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division Championship tournament, mostly made up of teams from Orange County. The Sea Kings have made it to the finale twice in the past three seasons, never winning it, though.

The team with the biggest target in the playoffs this year is CdM, which received the No. 1 seed.

The Pacific Coast League champion Sea Kings open the first round at home Tuesday with a big test. They face No. 16-seeded Servite (7-9) at 5:30 p.m.

"They're the best No. 16 seed we've seen in a long time," CdM Coach G.W. Mix said of the Friars, the fourth-place team out of the Trinity League. "They've won two games in the last 10 days against top-10 teams in [Orange County].

"As the No. 1 seed, you'd like to play somebody who hasn't beaten teams [like JSerra and Santa Margarita] in the last 10 days. It is what it is. We're just excited to have a chance to play."

Two other local programs are looking forward to starting the postseason on Tuesday.

The Newport Harbor boys are on the road in the opening round. The Sailors (9-8), seeded 12th, play fifth-seeded St. Margaret's (11-6) at 4:30 p.m.

In the girls' bracket, CdM (12-2) is the No. 7 seed. It plays host to No. 10 Capistrano Valley (11-4) at 3:15 p.m.

The CdM boys will play on the same field, right after the girls. Mix isn't worried about the field conditions after the girls' game, or whether the sun will be out during the fourth quarter of the boys' game.

The Sea Kings don't have lights on their home field.

"Unless something changes dramatically, I think we'll be OK to start at 5:30," said Mix, adding that sunset will be around 7:30, dusk at 8:05.

The Sea Kings are the ones who turn the lights off on the opposition.

Back Bay rival Newport Harbor experienced how tough it is to hang with CdM. The Sailors visited the Sea Kings on March 31, losing the Battle of the Bay meeting, 10-4.

Mark Todd, who's in his second season as Newport Harbor's coach, said his Sailors face a similar obstacle in the first round. The Tartans are one of the few teams that have played CdM close, falling, 8-5, on April 17.

"They have a lot of crossover athletes from other sports, who are very athletic," Todd said of the Tartans, the Trinity League champions. "We're looking forward to playing one of the best programs. If we play at our best, we can give them a good game."

The last time the Sailors met St. Margaret's, the Tartans easily won, 14-6, at home.

The Sailors, who placed third in the Sunset League, are hoping a second trip to the San Juan Capistrano campus plays out better for them. They will have to perform without two of their best players. Senior attacker Jake Turner (knee) and junior defender Tyler Palmquist (wrist) are injured.

Todd has seen a first-year player in Hamilton Randle step in for Palmquist and Riley Robinson has taken over the scoring duties for Turner.

"I think we can surprise people," said Todd, who will rely on juniors Ritter Hagadorn and Brandon Rausch, and seniors Zac Vayda, Andrew Wilson and Jack Murrel. "St. Margaret's is not taking us for granted."

The Sea Kings aren't looking past Servite either.

Mix is well aware of the Friars' two recent overtime wins against JSerra and Santa Margarita, which are seeded ninth and 10th, respectively.

The Friars will be CdM's third opponent from the Trinity League this season. The Sea Kings might not be done with that league if they beat Servite and wind up playing JSerra in the second round.

JSerra is at No. 8 Huntington Beach. Those two teams played a close game in the regular season, with the Oilers pulling out a 9-8 victory.

The side of CdM's bracket might have the best teams, including defending champion Foothill, which is the No. 4 seed.

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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