Tiffany Paladin is known for her aggressive drives to the goal for the Corona del Mar High girls' lacrosse team.
The Sea Kings were having their way with rival Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay game March 25. Paladin had been subbed out, but late in the second half she told Coach Aly Vislocky she wanted back in. And she knew what she wanted to do when she re-entered the game.
"I was like, 'Hey Aly, can I go back in so I can be in when we win?'" Paladin said. "My senior year, I wanted to be in. She put me in, and right when I got in I drove to the goal. It was just pure adrenaline. I get a lot of adrenaline.
"If I want to go to the goal, if I'm looking at it and that's my object, I'll get to the goal. I just have to have that drive inside me."
CdM won the game on the Sailors' home field, 10-5. Paladin, a midfielder, helped lead the way with three goals and an assist.
The Daily Pilot Female Athlete of the Week was strong late in the game for the Sea Kings. It didn't surprise Vislocky, the third-year coach who has really been focusing on conditioning with this year's team.
She called Paladin her "firecracker" type of player.
"If there is a turnover, she'll fight to the end to get it back," Vislocky said. "If there's a ground ball, she just fights for it. That energy and strength is contagious out on the field. If she's just diehard going for everything, it feeds off to the rest of the team and pumps them up."
Paladin has scored 14 goals in the team's five non-tournament games, all victories. She is an experienced lacrosse player, having started the sport in the seventh grade. Her friend, fellow senior Tess Castro, asked Paladin and other players like Rhyley Nese and Holly Robinson if they wanted to try the sport.
Paladin was game. She had grown up playing soccer, where she was also a midfielder, but she adapted quickly to lacrosse.
"We all picked up a stick," Paladin said. "We all sucked together, but then we all got better together. We all grew together and followed through in high school."
Paladin started playing lacrosse on the junior varsity, but by her sophomore year at CdM she was on varsity and contributing for the Sea Kings. She wants to keep playing in college, probably just club at either Colorado State or the University of Colorado at Boulder. She wants to focus on her studies, possibly becoming a veterinarian like her father, Ron.
"I'm a Colorado girl," she said. "I love being outdoors and I love snowboarding, hiking. There's a lot of adventurous things to do."
On the Sea Kings, Paladin contributes both offensive and defensively. As a quick player she is able to get back on defense for the Sea Kings as needed. There are four captains – Nese, Robinson, Torrey Attyah and Gabby Smith – but Vislocky said she appreciates the leadership Paladin brings as well.
She also contributes in other ways, calling herself really "spunky."
"That's just how I am," Paladin said. "I can be goofy and weird and it gets the team pumped up. My teammates usually laugh at me."
The Sailors aren't laughing after Paladin helped CdM win the Battle of the Bay for the second straight year. She's the youngest of three sisters who have played sports at CdM, joining Natalie (track) and Olivia (soccer).
But Tiffany Paladin is establishing a name for herself on her own terms.
"Being the youngest you suffer from getting the least amount of attention," she said. "I think it's drove me in a positive direction. I was more of the independent child, but we've always been close as sisters."
CdM is also going in a positive direction, easily winning its first three Pacific Coast League games. A tougher challenge comes Monday against defending league champion Beckman, which won the Orange County Invitational two weeks ago.