PALOS VERDES — After battling through injuries, illnesses and lineup changes, the Redondo Union Sea Hawks ran into an adversary they couldn’t overcome Saturday, falling to defending Southern Section champion Mater Dei 21-11 in the US Lacrosse LA/OC title game.
The Monarchs scored twice within the game’s first minute, led 5-0 before Redondo got on the board and were up 12-3 with 9:28 still to play in the first half en route to their second consecutive US Lacrosse Southern Section championship.
The Monarchs (16-5), who beat Oak Park 15-4 to claim last year’s crown were a perfect 16-0 against teams from Orange County and Los Angeles this season, losing only to teams from Northern California, San Diego and one from Tennessee.
Mater Dei’s Class of 2017 finished with a four-year overall record of 62-17. Five of those seniors will play NCAA Division I lacrosse next year, including Maddi Hooks (Butler), who led all scorers Saturday with four goals and four assists. Lauren Gonzales (Fresno State) scored four goals and had two assists; Grace Houser (California) and Mackenzie Wallevand (Fresno State) each scored three goals and had two assists; goalie Courtney Wallburger (Fresno State) was credited with two saves.
In stark contrast, the Sea Hawks (16-4), who were making their second appearance in the section title game in three years, started four juniors, four sophomores two freshmen and only two seniors. Senior captains Jaymie Bettger and Jackie Schneider have been out with injuries.
Still, Redondo didn’t roll over when Mater Dei extended its lead to 13-4 with six minutes left the in the first half. Rather, sophomore Emma Hodges, junior Alison Shafer and freshman Marianna Gamet scored in a three-minute span, pulling the Sea Hawks within 13-7. After the Monarchs added another with a minute left in the half, Shafer scored again in transition to it 14-8 at the break.
Coming out of the break, though, Mater Dei limited Redondo to one goal over the first 15 minutes of the second half while increasing its lead to 20-9.
The Monarchs dominated possession time throughout the game, controlling 20 draws, forcing eight turnovers and collecting 25 ground balls. Wallevand (11) and Houser (6) led Mater Dei in draw controls.
As a result, Redondo senior goalie Melanie Paiz was under relentless attack. One of only five seniors on the Redondo roster, Paiz made nine saves.
Shafer led Redondo with four goals and two assists, and sophomore Addy Bass scored three goals. Hodges had two goals and an assist, and Gamet and Sophie Ristorelli each scored one.
For Mater Dei, sophomores Tess Keiser and Peyton Smith each contributed three goals and an assist, and junior Sydney Payne had a goal and three assists. Sophomore Jaime Ko also had an assist. Sixteen of the Monarchs’ 21 goals were assisted.