Quentin Buchman’s sombrero trick in regulation was not enough to get the No. 4 Santa Margarita boys’ lacrosse a place on the Cinco de Mayo dance card, but his fourth and final goal in overtime did the trick. Buchman’s game-winner gave the Eagles their second 7-6 victory over No. 5 Corona Del Mar 7-6 this season and brought an end to an instant classic that had fans of both teams on the edge of their seats from beginning to end.
“Quentin [Buchman] is a hell of a player, there is no doubt about that,” said Sea Kings head coach G.W. Mix. “He’s a handful, and was the difference.”
The tone of the game was set early with both defenses flexing their muscles, causing turnovers, and just making it difficult for the offenses to find their flow. Santa Margarita had their opportunities in the quarter but could not find a way past CdM goalie Kyle Cord. Cord looked like Cord the entire game but was particularly stingy in the first twelve minutes with six saves including four game changers. CdM’s Blaine Nelsen was the only player to find twine in Q1.
After another goal by the Sea Kings to begin the second, Buchman started the Eagles off on a 4-0 run to end the half up 4-2. Eagles head coach Adam Guy knew his squad was in for another battle with Corona Del Mar.
“When we played [CDM] in the first game, we were banged up, they were banged up, so we kind of knew it was going to be a different game,” Guy said. “But we also knew with [CDM] healthy and us healthy we were probably going to match up the same.”
Simon Hall got two quick goals after the intermission for the Sea Kings to tie the game at four per side, and it was game on.
Soon after Hall knotted the game, Nicholas Parrino unknotted it with an unassisted goal got an unassisted goal off a caused turnover by Kai Solomon to give the Eagles a 5-4 lead. But the Sea Kings had a response and the game was tied 5-5 after three quarters of play.
Chandler Fincher started the fourth off with a quick goal to give CDM their first lead since the second quarter, but Buchman followed that up with an unassisted goal of his own to tie the game at six. Both teams’ defenses held off each other and four quarters were not enough to decide this one as the game went into overtime.
Ryan You won a big faceoff to give the Eagles the ball, which soon followed a timeout by Guy. Buchman was on an island one-on-one with the ball, and netted the dramatic game-winner past Cord to send the Eagles to the semifinals.
“I saw the defense was shading over to the right, trying to push me left, so I just took it and got under that slide,” Buchman said. “We knew the goalie was weak top right and I just kind of trusted myself to take it and it went in.”
Besides Buchman’s great four-goal game, the Eagles had offensive contributions from Parrino (2g), Jack Allender (2a), Ryan Williams (1g), and Michael Walsh (1a). Defense played a major roll in the Eagles win with six caused turnovers, four of which came from Solomon, and Ryan Olsker came up big in net for Santa Margarita with 14 saves.
“The goalie battle was great,” Guy said. “Cord did a good job in goal early. We kind of opened things up in the second half which was nice, but Olsker really stepped up as well and had some great saves in there.”
Hall (2g, 1a), Fincher (2g, 1a), Nelsen (1g), Jake Elisius (1g), and Cord (1a) all had offensive tallies for the Sea Kings, and defensively were led by Eric Fries with two caused turnovers.
The Sea Kings who were playing their best lacrosse of the season in the final two weeks ended their season without a third game in May for the first time since 2011, a feat matched only by Foothill.
“I’m proud of them, Mix said. “We’ve faced a lot of adversity on and off the field all year long and they fought their way through it and became a better team each and every week of the season. We had an opportunity to go the semifinals, which I don’t think anyone would give us two to three months ago for sure, so we’re right there. That’s two good lacrosse teams battling it out in a playoff game right until the very end.”
As a result of the win, the Eagles will rematch against No. 1 St. Margarets in the quarterfinals on Saturday at Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana. The last time these two played on March 21, the Tartans won 12-3.