CORONA DEL MAR — Two losses this week did not provide the Corona del Mar High girls' lacrosse team with a lot of momentum going into the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division playoffs.
But, as the Sea Kings showed last year, anything can happen once the playoffs begin.
The postseason was the talking point Wednesday, after CdM dropped its Pacific Coast League finale to league champion Beckman, 9-6, at home.
Corona del Mar (13-7, 7-3 in league) finished tied for second in league. The Sea Kings had a chance to share the league title with Beckman (16-4, 10-0) when the week began, but those hopes were dashed after CdM was upset at Woodbridge, 18-17, in overtime on Monday.
Now CdM awaits its playoff matchup. The coaches' seeding meeting is scheduled for Saturday, with the 16-team playoffs beginning on Tuesday.
Last year, CdM was seeded seventh but advanced all the way to the Orange County title match for the first time in program history before losing to Los Alamitos.
"That [loss to Woodbridge on Monday] was really frustrating for us," CdM senior captain Molly Rovzar said. "Within our league, we felt pretty confident. Saying this humbly, I don't think that was a game we were extremely worried about, and I think it caught us a little bit on our heels. We weren't out there 100% ready to go. In the moment, we were very frustrated, but afterward we pulled together as a team.
"Ultimately, our goal is to go far in playoffs. Losing to Woodbridge may seed us differently within playoffs, but ultimately it doesn't necessarily affect the wins that we are capable of getting and are going to try to get in playoffs."
Rovzar scored a match-high four goals Wednesday for CdM, ranked No. 8 in Southern California by LaxPower.com. The Sea Kings certainly started strong against No. 3-ranked Beckman. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead on two goals by Rovzar and one by junior Sabrina Smith.
They were the quicker and more aggressive team early. Senior captain Meredith Davin earned a couple of draw controls in the opening minutes, and CdM held a 3-1 advantage at halftime.
"It showed us our potential and kind of built faith into our defense, that they can hang," CdM Coach Aly Vislocky said. "We needed that."
But Beckman rallied early in the second half, tying the score on goals by Kylie Filipek and Bianca LaCavera. This was not necessarily surprising to Beckman Coach Ali Rische, whose team edged CdM, 12-11, in the first league meeting April 8.
The Sea Kings also led at halftime, 6-4, in that game.
"We're definitely a second-half team," Rische said. "I think what it is, our [players] need to get angry, and they need to have something to work toward. I think that's what changed. We decided that we wanted to win."
Beckman took its first lead at 5-4 when Hanna Leonard scored with 13:16 remaining. Rovzar tied the score with a strike off an eight-meter shot, but Beckman scored three straight goals to take control.
Rovzar scored again to bring the Sea Kings within 8-6 with 4:03 remaining. But a pair of yellow cards all but ended the Sea Kings' chances at a comeback. Rovzar received one with 2:41 left in the match, followed by senior captain Kylie Mulvaney 16 seconds later. Each player was required to sit out two minutes, meaning CdM was two players down until less than a minute remained in the game.
"It's not my fault she tripped," a frustrated Mulvaney said to her mother, Lauren, at the scorer's table.
Beckman senior Angela Tulio scored the game's final goal with 49 seconds left, just before Rovzar was eligible to return.
Freshman Payton Carter also scored for CdM, assisted by senior Emily Turner. Sabrina Smith and senior Paige Miller tied for the team lead in ground balls, with three each. Rovzar, Turner, Kylie Mulvaney, Jamie Smith, Kendall Mulvaney and Kacie Kline each recorded two ground balls.
Rovzar led CdM with four draw controls.
Goalie April Tran made seven saves.
Despite the loss, Vislocky said she believes her team can make noise in the playoffs again.
"We've really assessed what our goals are, and most of the season our goal is to do well in playoffs," Vislocky said. "That's our mission, so if this loss fuels us for the playoffs, then mission accomplished ... Last year during the playoffs, we learned a lot fast. We have the potential to really improve over the next couple of weeks."
CdM seniors Rovzar, Kylie Mulvaney, Davin, Miller, Tran, Turner, Sara Machoskie, Amy Burt and Maddy Haly were recognized on senior day.