Since the Corona del Mar High boys' lacrosse team suffered its first setback three weeks ago, the Sea Kings have been rolling.
They continued their strong play and exacted some revenge at home on Thursday. The Sea Kings walloped St. Margaret's, 12-3, collecting their sixth straight victory in front a big a crowd.
The result turned out much differently than last season's two meetings between the Orange County powerhouse programs. Back then, the Tartans handed CdM its second and third losses, the third one ended the Sea Kings' season.
Corona del Mar fell short of defending its U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division title because St. Margaret's moved on to the Southern Section final and won it all.
The playoffs are around the corner, and CdM (12-1), ranked No. 10 in California by LaxPower.com, wasn't about to lose its second contest of this year, and not to St. Margaret's (7-6). The hosts built a 6-1 lead at halftime, getting two goals from Sherwin Gersten, and one each from Stephen Von Der Ahe, Jack Denning, Noah Howe and Ben Palitz.
Gersten finished with four goals and one assist, and Palitz recorded a hat trick, to go with two assists and two groundballs. Denning and Howe had two goals apiece and six combined groundballs.
The scoring chances came thanks to sophomore sensation Jason Simaan winning 12 of 17 faceoffs. He had a daunting matchup against St. Margaret's Ryan Harnisch, a junior who has committed to Denver.
"I thought that both kids fought hard. Jason came out on the top of that probably more often than Mr. Harnisch did," CdM Coach GW Mix said. "It was a good battle. They're going to see each other again, there's no doubt about it. They'll probably see each other probably for the next five or six years. They're two of the best in the game."
Another top player – Brett Greenlee – represented CdM and forced three turnovers. Greenlee plans to join Harnisch at Denver after the junior recently committed to the school.
Mix said Greenlee stood out to Denver while the Sea Kings spent spring break up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where they faced Kentfield Marin Catholic and Danville San Ramon Valley. Getting out of town allowed CdM to regroup after Beckman upset the Sea Kings, 10-9, at Tustin High on April 4.
"It showed us that we can't just show up," Mix said of the loss, its first to Beckman in school history. "We've shown up since."
The Sea Kings certainly have come out ready, as they have outscored their last six opponents, 67-26. During the span, they have played quality teams, the schools up north, and JSerra, Santa Margarita and St. Margaret's, teams ranked No. 3, No. 7 and No. 9, respectively, in the Southern Section.
The defense, led by University of Notre Dame commit Hugh Crance, as well as Jay Damon and goalie Hoyt Crance, again impressed. Only Marin Catholic has been able to produce more than five goals against CdM in the past six contests.
Through the first three quarters, only Patrick Fallon found the back of the net for the Tartans.
"I thought Hoyt played out of his mind," said Mix, whose goalie made six saves. "He's making huge saves in big moments of big games."
The day before in practice, Mix told his players that he wanted them to close out the regular season on a high note. The Sea Kings play twice more, at Huntington Beach and Coronado, next week before the postseason begins.
"Let this be the jumping off point for that," said Mix, whose Sea Kings appear ready to make a run at a fifth U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division finals appearance in six seasons.