Corona del Mar Overcomes Slow Start, Routes Santiago

The upset-minded No. 12 Santiago boys lacrosse team was denied by a group of Sea Kings determined to not be the first CdM team this decade to not reach at least the second round of the playoffs.

The Sharks who are  coming off the best season in the programs’s young history showed up ready to play and stormed out of the gates with two Gabe Benso (4 goals, 1 assist) goals to take a 2-0 lead in the first minute of the game. But as talented and determined as the Sharks are, there is no substitute for experience, and let’s just say this was not CdM’s first rodeo.  The No. 5 Sea Kings shook off the adversity, regained the momentum, and took control of the game with 12 unanswered goals by half time, and the cruised to the 18-6 finish.


“Tough night for us,” said Santiago coach Keith Parr who has led the program to three playoff appearances in three tries as a CIF program.  “We started out up 2 – 0 then the wheels came off the bus!  My hat goes off to CDM for controlling the ground ball game and keeping pressure on us all over the field.”

The Sea Kings, who appear to be playing their best lacrosse of the year, applied relentless pressure on the ride and were deadly efficient on their scoring opportunities.

Chandler Fincher, Eric Fries, and Aiden Kelly each scored four goals to lead the Sea Kings who now look forward to a rematch with No. 4 Santa Margarita on Thursday.  The Eagles defeated CdM for the first time ever earlier in the season making Thursday game must-see activity.

In addition to Benso, Ruben Santana added a goal and Ryan Richardson chipped in with a goal and two assists. The Sharks will now look forward to next season where they hope to move up another rung or two on the ladder.  The class of 2018 graduates knowing that they have built a program from the ground up.

“Santiago is a 3rd year CIF program and we have made the playoffs all 3 years,” Parr said.  “This year was are highest seeding so far at #12.  Very proud of this team with their effort, teamwork and leadership that our senior class provided.  It has been an incredible journey and they will be missed.  The future looks bright with our returning players as well as our JV players moving up.”