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Corona del Mar has strong fourth quarter to hold off rival Foothill
NEWPORT BEACH As far as rivalry games go, Saturday’s boys lacrosse game between top-ranked Corona del Mar and second-ranked Foothill had it all.
The afternoon clash had tight defense, playoff atmosphere and intensity and back-and-forth moments.
In the end, it also had a dominant fourth quarter by the top-ranked Sea Kings (3-0) that help them seize an 11-4 home victory.
“That’s two really good lacrosse teams playing each other,” CdM coach G.W. Mix said. “We talked a lot about being patient and I thought we were patient on both ends of the field and it paid off for us a little bit.
“I did feel that in the first half, we possessed the ball pretty well in that first quarter and into the second quarter, but we just didn’t finish the ball. Once we started to finish, put the ball on the cage, things started to turn for us.”
CdM led 3-2 at halftime and 6-4 entering the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Kyle Young opened the scoring for CdM with an unassisted goal at 9:09. Sachin Gokhale followed for an 8-4 lead and some much-needed breathing room.
This is the second consecutive year that two teams have met in the regular season. Foothill won last year’s meeting, 16-13.
“Foothill is always a big game for us,” CdM junior attack Eric Fries said. “It is always difficult, always chippy game and it feels fantastic to beat them.”
Fries finished with two goals for CdM.
“Mostly, for the third quarter they were on offense and it tired out our defense,” Fries said. “Going to the fourth, we really wanted to keep the ball on offense and try to put in a couple more and extend our lead and keep them from scoring again.”
The ultimate job of keeping Foothill from scoring fell to sophomore goalie Kyle Cord. Cord recorded nine saves.
“He’s playing incredibly,” Fries said of Cord. “Couple of weeks ago, we had four goalies fighting for that starting position and Kyle definitely earned it.”
Cord and Nick Puglia are two of the new starters for the Sea Kings. Puglia has some big shoes to fill, replacing last year’s OC Player of the Year, Face-off specialist Jason Simaan.
“Those are two pretty big spots to fill in a given year,” Mix said. “Jason was one of the best face-off guys in the country. We were pretty used to getting the ball whenever we needed it. Nick has been a really good job.
“When we lost Stephen Von der Ahe and Jordan Greenwald, we lost 160 points, that’s a lot. We knew coming in that we were going to have to make it by committee and we’ve been able to do that.”
Will Favreau and Gokhale led the CdM with three goals apiece. John Bethel, Connell MacLean and Young had the other goals.
Josh Fox led Foothill with two goals. Cole Falbo and Andrew Cumming had the others.
CdM jumped out to 2-0 lead in the first quarter. Foothill scored the first two goals of the second quarter. The Knights would then be as close as one goal on two separate occasions.
“It was a good game,” Foothill coach Jon Fox said. “It was back and forth. We just couldn’t get momentum. A couple of ground balls missed, a couple of clears missed …we just didn’t take good shots today. We weren’t able to execute what we wanted to on offense, but credit them for putting us in some tough spots.”