Friday, April 19, 2024

Double Dominance: Coronadans Victorious in Elite National Lacrosse Tournament

Nine standout athletes from Coronado led two high-powered girls’ lacrosse teams to victory over nationally ranked rivals. Competing in the most elite division at this weekend’s Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival in Indo, California, Coronado boasted the largest representation on the two championship-winning squads. The Sand Storm Festival is the largest west coast tournament of the year and attracts teams from across California and beyond, including Canada, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and New York. Spectators could distinguish teams based on their attire—the squads hailing from colder climates opted for shorts and tees while the Southern California teams bundled up in response to the 48-degree weather.

Coronadans included Maria Anaya, Sydney Dunn, Grace Elardo, and Brooklyn Parma on Alliance National 2026 and Brynn Belong, Lilah Cade, Madie Collins, Breck Dunn, and Avery Hunter on Alliance National 2027. (For readers new to lacrosse, lacrosse teams are named by the year that the players will graduate from high school. The 2026 players are currently sophomores, the 2027 players freshmen).

National Alliance 2026 Lacrosse Players, l to r Grace Elardo, Sydney Dunn, Maria Anaya, Brooklyn Parma (photo credit: Beth Elardo)

Alliance National 2026

The Alliance National 2026 teammates are now back-to-back champions, defeating the #6-ranked team in the country, STEPS CA 2026, 8-6 in the 2026AA finals.

Incredibly, throughout the tournament the team never trailed. One of the Club’s Directors, Alisa Dunn, expressed enthusiasm about the speed of the team. “They were just freakishly fast,” she said. “They played at a pace that no one could keep up with. The ’26s were … just blowing by people.”

Midfielder Sydney Dunn preparing to dodge to goal (photo credit: Andrea Lin)

“The highlight of the tournament was competing against some of the top teams in the country and winning the championship with our friends,” said sisters Sydney (’26) and Breck Dunn (’27).

Alliance National 2027

The 2027AA Finals Game “took a year off my life,” quipped the Club Director, and for good reason. After receiving four yellow cards in the first half, Alliance National 2027 competed a player down for all of the second half. Despite having one fewer player than their opponents, the team scored three goals in the second half. Material defensive stops by Hunter and Collins and three saves by goalie Piper Dalsemer helped the team clinch the victory.

The team avenged a loss in last year’s final to east coast powerhouse, HHH National 2027, winning in dramatic fashion, 7-5.

National Alliance 2027 Championship lacrosse players (l to r) Breck Dunn, Lilah Cade, Maddie Collins, Avery Hunter, Brynn Belong (photo credit: Kris Collins)
Midfielder Breck Dunn drives to goal (Photo Credit: Kris Collins)

“The girls were unusually determined and excited for the rematch and it showed,” Dunn said. “The 2027s showed real grit and determination to beat such a talented team.”

Attacker Lilah Cade preparing for her trick shot (photo credit: Kris Collins).

Looking Ahead

Although the nine players are spread across two teams for lacrosse tournaments, that won’t be the case for the high school season. All nine players plan to play lacrosse on Coronado High School’s lacrosse team this spring.

That’s great news for the Islanders. Last year, the team competed well in the Open Division, the highest division in high school sports. They lost in the semi-finals by only one goal to eventual champion Torrey Pines.

This year, the players are hopeful that they can win the Open Championship, something that Coronado Girls Lacrosse has never done. The nine players on Alliance are either freshmen or sophomores and every player has the potential to contribute to the high school team.

Attacker Brynn Belong working without the ball (photo credit: Kris Collins)

“By winning Sand Storm, hopefully that foreshadows what the high school team can do,” said Dunn. “It is so exciting for us to have them come back together again for high school lacrosse.

Although Alliance is only a three-year old program, the Club has had teams ranked nationally in the top ten each of those years. Tryouts for the Alliance team are Saturday, January 20. Check out the Alliance website for more information.

Lisa Lamb
Lisa Lamb
Lisa’s passion for sports journalism stems from her experiences playing high school sports and reading great sports journalists, especially those who write about her favorite basketball team, the San Diego State Aztecs. As a professor of mathematics education, she enjoys analyzing data to highlight the statistics that help bring the story to life. Lisa has lived in Coronado for almost 20 years with her husband and son. She loves the friendly neighborhood community and the walkable access to wonderful restaurants and parks.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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