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Sea Kings best in O.C.

Corona del Mar takes out Division I section champ JSerra, as Williams scores two goals in CIF Southern California regional semifinal.

March 11, 2010|By Barry Faulkner

ALISO VIEJO — When you’ve won a CIF Southern Section Division IV title, come in having outscored teams, 77-13, and are ranked No. 9 nationally by ESPN Rise, being handed the underdog label is a gift too good to waste.

Then JSerra, the CIF Southern Section Division I champion that played host to Thursday’s CIF Southern California Regional Division II boys’ soccer semifinal at Aliso Niguel High, decided to give Corona del Mar the gift that kept on giving.

“We were beyond fired up,” said CdM sophomore goalkeeper Connor Gaal after he made big saves and senior Reed Williams scored two goals to help spark the visitors’ 3-2 victory.

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The win helped CdM (26-1-1) become the final Orange County boys’ team playing. The Sea Kings face Santa Barbara (31-0-1) in the regional final Saturday at 1 p.m. at Warren High in Downey.

But the mythical Orange County crown was just one of many sources of inspiration for the Sea Kings Thursday.

Others motivating factors were out of JSerra’s hands, while yet more bulletin board material came from the hands of JSerra junior varsity players, in the form of boastful assertions on a social networking website.

“They were talking before the game on Facebook and we just wanted to show them that we were better than them; that we were the best team in Orange County,” Gaal said.

Gaal, who played with some JSerra junior varsity players in junior high, said he and one other teammate were the recipients of the electronic taunts, one of which reportedly said Williams, who leads Orange County with 31 goals, couldn’t start for the Lions.

“[Coach George Larsen] didn’t even have to talk to us, we were so fired up for this game,” Gaal said. “We just wanted to come out and attack them.”

Attack they did, though the Lions (25-4-3), who came in having outscored foes, 67-23, answered to seize the lead and force the Sea Kings to rally.

The UCLA-bound Williams, who is sure to be Southern Section Division IV Player of the Year, but was informed Wednesday that he lost one newspaper’s Orange County Player of the Year honor to JSerra junior Juan “Crabby” Gutierrez, capped that rally with his second goal of the game in the 66th minute.

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