IRVINE — Controlling the draw is a big part of lacrosse.
Controlling emotions may prove even more valuable for the Corona del Mar High girls' lacrosse team as the season continues.
The Sea Kings lost a chance to take control of the Pacific Coast League on Monday afternoon at Beckman High. Their comeback fell short and they lost to the Patriots, 12-11, in a battle of league unbeatens.
CdM (10-3, 5-1 in league) can still most likely earn a share of the league title for the second straight year by beating Beckman (10-3, 5-0) in the teams' second meeting. That's the regular-season finale, on April 24 at CdM. It will be senior day for the Sea Kings.
In that game, Corona del Mar Coach Aly Vislocky hopes to see better chemistry from her team, the type of chemistry she saw in last week's 9-7 nonleague victory over Foothill.
"Yes, we needed more groundballs, we needed more draw controls, we could have corrected some things on defense," Vislocky said. "But I just don't think we were our complete unit. I think when we're our complete unit, this game will not be a problem. When we did our after-game talk, it was more about the chemistry on the field, and how we can unite when we play hard games.
"We don't respond well when we're panicking, and so we need to find that balance within competition, how not to panic and still thrive in competitive situations. Sometimes, like Foothill, it worked. And sometimes, like today, it didn't."
Juniors Kacie Kline and Sabrina Smith each scored four goals for CdM, ranked No. 7 in Southern California by laxpower.com. Smith scored her team's first three goals of the game, helping the Sea Kings earn a 6-4 halftime lead.
It evaporated quickly against No. 4 Beckman. The Patriots scored twice as a CdM defender was out with a yellow card. The second goal was by their leading scorer this season, sophomore Shea O'Donnell. She gave Beckman an 8-7 lead with 14:18 left to play.
CdM quickly tied the score, as junior Kendall Mulvaney found Kline in front. But Beckman's Kylie Filipek, Angela Tulio, Tia Thomson and Jenny Dey would each score goals as the Patriots pulled away.
Beckman first-year coach Ali Rische, who played lacrosse at Foothill before graduating in 2010, credited her team's draw controls and solid midfield play as the difference.
But Smith agreed with her coach Vislocky, that CdM's problems weren't all technical.
"We were really letting it get into our heads that we weren't ahead in the game," Smith said. "The draw control for us is mainly the biggest thing … when we're not getting the draw it brings us down. Once we rallied together toward the end, we started getting [into] it more, but I think we were just frustrated as a whole.
"We have a very mental team, so it's kind of hard for us sometimes to get our [morale] up. But once we do, we do really good."
Dey's second goal of the game gave Beckman a 12-8 lead with 4:34 left. Finally, CdM started doing better on draw controls and began to rally.
Smith and Kline each scored, then senior captain Molly Rovzar (two goals) scored into the upper part of the net with 50 seconds left. Possession changed hands several times in the final minute, but CdM senior Paige Miller came up with the ball as the seconds ticked down. Miller was fouled with seven seconds left in the game.
She passed the ball behind the net to Mulvaney, but the Sea Kings were unable to get a shot off as time expired.
Kline also had two assists and two caused turnovers for CdM, while Miller scored a goal and added three groundballs. Mulvaney and Smith tied for the team lead with five groundballs each. Senior goalie April Tran made six saves.
Tulio, a senior, had a game-high four goals for Beckman, also taking the draws.
"She's definitely a really important player," Rische said. " She's going to Lehigh. Don't ask me where it is, I have no idea."
Lehigh University is back east, in Pennsylvania. Before she goes there, Tulio will put pressure on CdM in the teams' second league meeting. But the Sea Kings will also put pressure on themselves.
"I'm happy that it's not against the other team or the refs," Vislocky said. "It's more of a self-pressure they put on themselves. If someone's having a bad game, that chemistry within them kind of shines to the others. It's just like, 'Snap out of it! Let's figure out a solution here.'"
CdM, which plays at University on Wednesday before playing at top-ranked Los Alamitos on Thursday, has two weeks to try to figure out a solution to Beckman.