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Top seed CDM to face Servite in playoff opener

 The undefeated Sea Kings have secured the top seed in the 2012 US Lacrosse Southern Section Boys Lacrosse Championship tournament and will play host to Servite (7-9 and seeded #16) on Tuesday afternoon at 5:30 PM at CDM.

"We are excited to get this party started," said CDM head coach G.W. Mix. "I was happy to see we have a significant challenge right out of the gate and we look forward to playing on Tuesday."

"Servite is a very tough draw. They are playing very well right now and their record (7-9) is deceiving. I believe they have won four of their last six games and just beat both JSerra (#9 seed) and Santa Margarita (#10 seed). Their last two losses were to top six teams (St. Margaret's the #5 seed and Los Al the #6 seed)."

In addition to Servite, CDM faces a potential second round match-up with the JSerra/Huntington winner. Traditional Orange County powers Foothill (#4) and St. Margaret's (#5) also loom on the Sea Kings' side of the bracket (click here to view the full tournament bracket). 

"We are certainly proud of our regular season accomplishments," Mix added. "But they mean absolutely nothing now. All that matters is that we find a way to win on Tuesday so we can play again on Thursday."

"It is going to be a very tough tournament for anyone fortunate enough to win it. There does not seem to be an easy road. We are the top seed and our path is not any easier than anyone else's. I think this has been a very good year for the development of lacrosse in Orange County with the emergence of a number of very competitive teams who all have legitimate chances to win this thing. It should be some great lacrosse."

The winner of the Orange County bracket will face the winner of the LA County tournament for the Southern Section Championship on May 12 at Mission Viejo High School. Top-seeded Palos Verdes (16-2) is the clear favorite to win the northern half.

Prior to Saturday's selection meeting, we asked Dan Perry, the US Lacrosse Orange County chapter president and committee chairman, to describe the overall process.

"I facilitate the discussion and we have about 10 coaches that participate," said Perry. "I try to get a representative for at least every league so we have coaches in the room that have seen just about every team eligible. From there we go down the list looking at wins and losses, strength of schedule, head to head, etc.. Most of the discussion is always about the bottom tier teams but we give everyone a fair shake. 

"I believe it’s been a pretty fair process and the coaches take their jobs seriously because, as you know, no matter the outcome, someone is going to be [upset] and unhappy."

In addition to Perry, the 2012 committee consisted of the following coaches: Todd Beauchamp (El Dorado), John Fox (Foothill), Matt Goto (Mater Dei), AJ Leahy (Dana Hills), Gerry Manning (St. Margaret's), Glen Miles (San Clemente), and Mark Todd (Newport Harbor). The Pacific Coast League had no representation on the committee, but did have two teams make the field of 16 (#1 CDM and #14 Beckman).

The South Coast League (#2 Tesoro, #3 San Clemente, #11 El Toro and #13 Dana Hills) and the Trinity League (#5 St. Margaret's, #9 JSerra, #10 Santa Margartia and #16 Servite each had four teams make the tournament. The Sunset league received three selections (#6 Los Alamitos, #8 Huntington, and #12 Newport Harbor), the Pacfic Coast League two (#1 CDM and #14 Beckman), and the Century league one (#15 Esperanza). Two independents (#4 Foothill and #7 Great Oak) rounded out the selections.

"It's easy to become a conspiracy theorist when you are not asked to participate in the selection process," Coach Mix responded when asked what he thought of the recently announced championship bracket. "But we try not to waste too much energy on things we cannot control."

"I do wonder about some of the discussions, and am somewhat curious about the thought process behind a few seeds, but it's a thankless job for those guys. They are all very good coaches, with a great deal of integrity. I am confident they did what is right by all of the kids playing in the tournament."

One of the tools the committee relies upon for the basis of its strength of schedule and quality of wins and losses discussions is LaxPower and its Power Ratings and RPI rankings.

A closer review of the bracket shows there are a few teams whose seeding does not reflect their Power Rating or their RPI, some seeded higher, some lower.

The LaxPower computer Power Rating for the Southern Section are based upon margin of victory calculations, including a ten goal limit constraint (to promote sportsmanship), a correction factor for over and underperforming their power rating, win-loss records and championship bonus points.

Below are the seeds compared to the Southern Section Power Ratings (which includes LA County teams):

 Team Seed PR
 CDM 1 1
 Tesoro 2 3
 San Clemente 3 6
 Foothill 4 8
 St. Margaret's 5 7
 Los Alamitos 6 5
 Great Oak 7 4
 Huntington 8 17
 JSerra 9 14
 Santa Margarita 10 12
 El Toro 11 19
 Newport Harbor 12 20
 Dana Hills 13 21
 Beckman 14 10
 Esperanza 15 23
 Servite 16 24

The LaxPower RPI rankings for the Southern Section are based upon the record of a team's opponents and of their opponent's opponents. As a result, it ends to be the ranking system that most accurately reflects most of the important objective selection factors (record, strength of schedule, quality of wins, quality of losses, etc.).

Below are the seeds compared to the Southern Section RPI (which includes LA County teams):

 Team Seed RPI
 CDM 1 2
 Tesoro 2 1
 San Clemente 3 5
 Foothill 4 3
 St. Margaret's 5 11
 Los Alamitos 6 8
 Great Oak 7 7
 Huntington 8 13
 JSerra 9 20
 Santa Margarita 10 24
 El Toro 11 17
 Newport Harbor 12 16
 Dana Hills 13 23
 Beckman 14 19
 Esperanza 15 31
 Servite 16 32