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CdM brings end to Foothill's dominance
ALISO VIEJO – Corona del Mar's boys lacrosse team ended Foothill's rule atop the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section, defeating the Knights, 7-5, in the semifinals of the U.S. Lacrosse Division 1 South playoffs Saturday night at Aliso Niguel.
The top-seeded Sea Kings (22-0) advance into the finals for the first time since 2010 and third time in school history to take on San Clemente on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Dana Hills. San Clemente defeated Santa Margarita, 12-11, in sudden-death overtime in the other semifinal.
Corona del Mar lost to Foothill in the finals two years ago. So with the victory, the Sea Kings were able to avenge that loss and end the Knights' streak of five consecutive county and Southern California titles.
"What was more important to us is that we got the win and we get to move on," Corona del Mar coach G.W. Mix said. "They've done a remarkable job there for so many years. They fought hard today, it was just our day.
"We had some kids make some big plays when it mattered."
Foothill Coach Jon Fox thought his fourth-seeded team could pull off a comeback, but it fell short.
"It was a good, tough game, down to the wire," Fox said. "Their goalie (Michael Ortlieb) made some great saves and that was the difference.
"We've got a bright future, with all these young players playing. It's a great experience. We made the best of it and made a good run at them. We had two freshmen and two sophomores starting. It's unfortunate we couldn't get our shots in today but it's a credit to CdM."
Foothill (11-9) was led by Tanner Jones and Cameron Stone, who had two goals each. Ortlieb was tough all game, recording 13 saves and four groundballs.
Corona del Mar had extra incentive to win the game for its head coach. Mix's father, Warren, died Friday night after being hospitalized a couple months ago.
"It was tough, but my dad was a baseball player in college and he was an athlete and a coach and wouldn't have wanted me to be anywhere else," Mix said.
Mix's son, Casey, and Michael Keasey led the Sea Kings with three goals each. Mix also had four groundballs.
"He definitely had an impact tonight," Casey Mix said of the loss of his grandfather. "It's tough, you can't necessarily focus everything on my grandfather because that just wouldn't be fair to the team because it's not necessarily about him, it's about this whole team and what we've been through.
"I knew he was looking out for me but we won this for the team, it wasn't just me, it was everyone."
Corona del Mar had a 7-3 lead going into the final quarter, but Stone scored with two minutes left to give the Knights a chance at a comeback.
The Knights had possession with 36 seconds left but were unable to convert.
"It feels good to advance, especially for the kids," Coach Mix said.
Hunter Molnar had the other goal for Corona del Mar. Taylor Epp won 12 of 18 face-offs for the Sea Kings.