Girls' Lacrosse: CdM forced to share

IRVINE — The day after many of the players on the Corona del Mar High girls' lacrosse team returned from the three-day Stagecoach Country Music Festival, they had a huge Pacific Coast League game against Beckman.

The festival was much more fun for the Sea Kings than the game at the Patriots' field Monday.

CdM stayed competitive for most of the contest, but at the end the goals dried up, just like the festival grounds in the desert in Indio.

The resulting 13-9 Beckman victory means that CdM is most likely denied its first outright league title in program history. Instead, the Sea Kings (13-4, 8-1 in league) appear destined to share the league title with Beckman (12-4, 8-1) for the second time in three years. It will happen if both teams avoid upsets in their final league games Thursday, CdM at Northwood and Beckman at home against Woodbridge.

CdM Coach Aly Simons, whose team was scoreless in the final 11 minutes of Monday's contest, saw plenty for the Sea Kings to work on before the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division playoffs begin next week.

"We didn't play our game," Simons said. "We didn't get the draw controls, and our defense was playing safe, they weren't playing aggressive. When we did play aggressive, we were getting foul calls. Our offense wasn't playing their game, which is a lot of passing and a lot of threat. In general, we were just playing a safer version, and that doesn't work for us against good teams. It was a combination of a lot of things."

Sabrina Smith and Paige Nelson each scored three goals to lead CdM, and Smith also had five draw controls. CdM took a 7-6 halftime lead, but Beckman started controlling more and more of the draws as the second half went on.

CdM took its final lead of the game midway through the second half, as Kendall Mulvaney found Kacie Kline on a precision pass in front of the net for a 10-9 advantage. It was the only goal for Kline, CdM's leading scorer on the year. Simons said that Kline, who had a goal and an assist but averages more than five goals per game for CdM, was battling sickness.

The Patriots showed they had the firepower at the end. They tied the score just 26 seconds later on Luna Tsujimoto's goal of the contest, and took the lead for good with 8:16 left when Michaela Kyte scored off a free position shot.

Savannah Krause then kept it going for the hosts, scoring after executing a sweet spin move. And, after Kyte fed Gabi Guiliana in front for yet another score, Beckman had a commanding 12-9 lead with 3:26 to play.

Tsujimoto led everyone with four goals, and also came up big in the second half by earning four of her six draw controls. Kyte and Krause each scored twice for Beckman, and Shea O'Donnell added a pair of goals.

Junior goalie Claire Duchene made 14 big saves for the Patriots, ranked No. 6 in Southern California by CdM, which beat Beckman 15-11 in the teams' first league meeting on April 2, is ranked No. 5 in Southern California.

"We've been working on some things offensively," Beckman Coach Monica Cullinan said. "Our girls were playing smarter, settling down when they needed to, making smart passes. It just kind of all came together for us. They're an amazing team. We know how good they are, so for us this is a great win."

Kendall Mulvaney had a goal and three assists for CdM, and Kennedy McGuinness also scored. Senior goalie Kate Allen made three saves.

CdM will find out its playoff seeding after the seeding committee meets on Saturday. The first round of the playoffs is scheduled for May 6.

Simons said that CdM, which had an 11-match winning streak snapped, will value the practice time before the postseason begins.

"[Sharing the league title] is something to be proud of," Simons said. "Let's make sure that we walk away from this game not feeling defeated, but figure out a way to bounce [back] from it. It's better to lose now than in playoffs, right? So we'll take the things we need to work on — which is a lot from this game — and make sure we play more like our team."

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