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CdM wins its first O.C. championship
DANA POINT - Corona del Mar’s boys lacrosse team left little doubt Wednesday night about which squad is the best in Orange County.
The top-seeded Sea Kings, in their third trip to the finals, captured their first U.S. Lacrosse Division 1 South title, defeating third-seeded San Clemente, 9-6, in the championship match Wednesday night in front of 3,500 at Dana Hills.
Corona del Mar became the first team other than Foothill to win a county title since the start of the playoffs. The Knights had won five in a row until Corona del Mar knocked them off in the semifinals, 7-5, last Saturday.
The Sea Kings (23-0) move on to the Southern Section finals Saturday at 1 p.m. at Mission Viejo High against the North Division winner, Palos Verdes.
“It feels great. It’s such a great group of kids, and to see them play that hard for one another and play with that much faith in each other was pretty special,” said Corona del Mar coach G.W. Mix.
The victory avenged the Sea Kings’ loss to San Clemente in the quarterfinals last year. San Clemente, making its first trip to the finals, finished 15-7.
“I don’t know if it was extra motivation but it certainly helps,” Mix said of the rematch. “To have that in the back of your mind that you would like to turn the tables, that doesn’t hurt. I think it was easier to be in the position we were.”
The Sea Kings, making their first appearance in the finals since 2010, jumped out to 7-3 lead at halftime.
San Clemente cut the lead to 7-4 on a goal by Jay Kassity with 4:07 left in the third quarter. But Corona del Mar was able to maintain the lead in the fourth quarter and moved out to a 9-5 lead on a goal by Hunter Molnar with 4:29 remaining.
Molnar, a senior attack player, led Corona del Mar with three goals.
Senior midfielder Michael Keasey also contributed, scoring two goals for the Sea Kings. Keasey then celebrated with the rest of his teammates and some CdM students who poured onto the field when the final horn sounded.
“It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work. It’s the most unselfish, hard-working team I’ve ever been apart of and it was really about proving ourselves all season, and I really think we did that,” Keasey said. “It really came full circle after we got knocked out by them (San Clemente) in the quarterfinals last year.”
San Clemente was led by Robbie Burns and Lucas Anderson with two goals each.
Goalkeeper Michael Ortlieb had an outstanding game for Corona del Mar, recording nine saves. Taylor Epp won 10 of 18 face-offs for the Sea Kings.