Corona del Mar kept its perfect season intact Wednesday night with a 9-6 win over San Clemente in the US Lacrosse South Division Championships at Dana Hills HS. The Sea Kings, now 23-0 on the year, snapped a 2-2 tie with five straight goals and never looked back after seizing a 7-3 halftime lead. San Clemente ended its season at 15-7 on the season after advancing to its first-ever title game.
Sea Kings senior attackman Hunter Molnar started the scoring with a pair of goals, but the Tritons answered with goals by Robbie Burns and Jordan Riggs. The quarter ended 2-2. The game seemed to turn in the second quarter, as the Tritons turned the ball over five times and had trouble clearing the ball in the deciding second quarter, and CdM capitalized while outscoring the Tritons 5-1 in the quarter. Junior midfielder Brett Nelson got the quarter started with an unassisted tally while picking up an errant San Clemente clear in front of the net and beating goalie Thomas Ahola. CdM kept up the pressure, as Yale-bound senior midfielder Michael Keasey scored followed by unassisted goals from Chris Von Der Ahe, Conner Canale and Jack Ortlieb. San Clemente’s Burns stopped the bleeding temporarily with his second goal of the night.
San Clemente had chances in the third quarter but failed to capitalize on three CdM penalties, turning the ball over on all three extra man opportunities. Senior attackman Jay Kassity pulled the Tritons to 7-4 with a blast from a Collin Zines feed, but the Sea Kings dominated the clock and possession in the fourth quarter while matching goals. Lucas Anderson scored twice in the fourth for San Clemente, while Keasey and Molnar capped the scoring for CdM.
Sea Kings goalie Mike Ortlieb faced 19 shots and made five saves. Ortlieb, a senior, is headed to play at Holy Cross next year.
The win marks CdM’s first county championship and caps a remarkable season under head coach G.W. Mix. The Sea Kings will now face LA County champions Palos Verdes on Saturday at Mission Viejo in the CIF Southern Section Final.