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Lacrosse Long Beach Poly

CIF Boys’ Lacrosse: Long Beach Poly Falls To ML King in Second Round

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management. 

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.

Long Beach Poly lost a tough one against ML King on Saturday afternoon in round two of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs. The game was lopsided from the start, as King seemed hungrier to advance than the Jackrabbits did, ultimately claiming a 16-2 victory on Burcham Field.

“We prepared well but just didn’t have as much energy as we needed,” Poly coach John Gabriel said. “King came in fired up and ready to go. Our guys didn’t match that energy and it showed early on.”

“My mindset coming into this game and every game is to play like it’s your last,” King’s faceoff specialist Paul Davis said. “We go in ready to kill, ready to fight, and no matter what, even if they’re better than us, we go in for the dogfight.” 

King dominated through the first quarter, with Derek Collins scoring a hat trick within five minutes of play. King scored six goals in the first quarter before Poly could get on the board.

With 1:19 left, Poly’s Nick Johnson scored the first goal for the Jackrabbits. Johnson ended the game with a goal and an assist, completing his senior season as the league’s leading scorer with 51 goals.

The main trouble for Poly seemed to be with faceoffs and holes in their defense. Throughout the whole game, Poly lost 16 out of 17 faceoffs.

“Faceoffs are very important,” King head coach Chris Kostka said. “We kept the ball 90 percent of the time and were able to keep our offense on the field. You have the ball, you can score.”

“Losing 16 of 17 faceoffs is huge. It automatically puts us on the defensive and our defense had a rough day today,” Gabriel said. 


The unsuccess of Poly’s defense allowed King to capitalize and stay ahead the whole game. With a few missed slides in the second quarter, King went up 12-1 at the half. 

“We try to spread the ball and share the ball,” Kostka said. “Our offense really works together. You can’t just shut down one player because we have five others that can score.”

Five different King players scored in the first half of the game.

This is where the tensions really rose, as a fight almost broke out between the teams before being broken up. Poly’s Jack Pryor was given a one minute penalty. 

In the third quarter, Poly showed a little more energy. Winning ground balls and causing turnovers allowed Mason Peterson to score the second goal for the Jackrabbits. However, King tacked on three more goals of their own to increase their lead to 15-2 heading into the last quarter. 

“The breakdown of our defense set a tone for our team,” Gabriel commented on the team’s struggles. “Not playing together, not communicating, and not running our clear kept us on defense the whole game. We didn’t get enough opportunities and we have to respond better.”

Poly’s goalie Zeth Gonzalez notably had a good game. He had 13 saves, with four of those coming in the last quarter. King only managed to score one goal in the fourth.

However, Poly dropped the game 16-2 and is out of the playoffs. Wilson is the only team left in Moore League, visiting Santa Monica on Monday afternoon in round two.

Nina Fife
Nina Fife is a freshman at Pepperdine University majoring in journalism. She began working with The562 in the inaugural intern class before being hired as their Social Media Director and now Assistant Editor. Nina is a proud Long Beach schools alum who graduated with valedictorian honors.