ALISO VIEJO — The day after his father passed away, G.W. Mix said it was not hard to come out and coach his Corona del Mar High boys' lacrosse team Saturday.
Mix said his dad, Warren "Moose" Mix, would have wanted it that way.
"My dad was a baseball player in college," G.W. Mix said. "He was an athlete and a coach, and he wouldn't have wanted me to be anywhere else. Consequently, I didn't want to be anywhere else."
The Sea Kings still had a great night in the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division semifinals. The Mix family did, too.
Mix's son Casey and senior Michael Keasey each had hat tricks as the top-seeded Sea Kings advanced, 7-5 over No. 4 Foothill at Aliso Niguel High. In the process, CdM ended Foothill's run of five straight South Division (Orange County) and Southern Section titles.
The Sea Kings wore their shooting shirts that say on the bottom of the back, "This one's for Moose." After each of his goals on Saturday, Casey Mix pointed to the sky.
"It's the first time I've ever done that, but I thought it was necessary," the junior said. "We can't necessarily dedicate all our focus to my grandpa, and play for my grandpa. That wouldn't be fair to the team. It's not just about him, it's about this whole team and what we've been through. [But] I was definitely playing for him. I knew he was looking out for me, but we did this as a team."
G.W. Mix said he was headed on a red-eye flight back east to be with his family. He'll come back to California on Wednesday to coach the Sea Kings in the South Division championship game, which is where they're at for the third time in four years. The game is at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Dana Hills High.
CdM (22-0) will play No. 3-seeded San Clemente, which outlasted No. 10 Santa Margarita, 12-11, in sudden-death overtime in Saturday's second semifinal match. CdM is looking for its first Orange County title.
"I'm leaving the kids in the very capable hands of our assistants, and we'll get ready for the next one," G.W. Mix said.
The Sea Kings never trailed against Foothill. They opened a 5-3 halftime lead as senior Hunter Molnar, who has been battling sickness, scored with 12 seconds left in the second quarter.
The Pacific Coast League champions extended the lead. Casey Mix and Jack Ortlieb caused a turnover in the Foothill defense and Mix scored, bringing the advantage to 6-3 late in the third quarter. Then Mix scored again on sweet pass from Keasey, giving CdM a 7-5 advantage with 10 minutes left.
Foothill (11-9) tried to rally. First Austin Babb scored, then Cameron Stone scored on a man-up with 2:13 left to bring the Knights within a goal. But they couldn't get closer.
"They play the transition game very well," G.W. Mix said of the Knights. "We knew we had to limit the chaos a little bit. They play very well in chaotic situations."
Knights Coach Jon Fox said Michael Ortlieb, CdM's senior goalie bound for Holy Cross, was a big reason why the Sea Kings moved on. Ortlieb finished with 13 saves and scooped up four ground balls. The latter statistic tied him for team-high honors with Taylor Epp and Hugh Crance. Epp, the Sea Kings' senior face-off specialist, won 12 of 18 face-offs for the Sea Kings.
Jack Ortlieb and Todd Kitzens added assists for CdM.
Stone and Tanner Jones led Foothill with two goals each, but Foothill was still held under six goals for just the second time this season.
"We're great man-to-man, we've got a lot of athleticism and Michael's fantastic in the goal, " Casey Mix said.