Michael Keasey's final goal as a member of the Corona del Mar High boys' lacrosse team meant a lot to him, his teammates and his coach.
The goal proved to be the game-winner, allowing the Sea Kings to claim their first U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section title last week.
Keasey and the Sea Kings played for more than their school during a 7-6 win against Palos Verdes that day. They played for Coach George Warren Mix's father, George Warren "Moose" Mix Sr., who passed away at 74 of heart failure on May 4, eight days before CdM completed its historic season.
David Keasey, Michael's father, said "Moose" was with the Sea Kings that afternoon against Palos Verdes.
When Keasey found the back of the net for the third time at Mission Viejo High, a familiar song blasted. The song was Mix's dad's favorite, "Sweet Caroline."
Oh, how sweet it was when Keasey's goal, coming with 10:46 left in the fourth quarter, broke a 6-6 tie and held up to be the difference.
"This one's for Moose," said Keasey, who wore a shirt with those exact words underneath his jersey, as did the rest of the team.
Keasey and the Sea Kings dedicated the season to "Moose" ever since he fell ill during the season. Keasey said it brought the team closer together because "Moose" was the father of the coach and grandfather of a player, Casey.
"It meant a lot for me and my son Casey that the kids had my dad in their thoughts," said Mix, whose father was a well-known attorney in Towson, Md. "There is a lot going through the minds of teenage kids. I thought it was remarkable what they did. They faced adversity and it could've been a big distraction. You don't know how kids would act in that situation."
Keasey and the Sea Kings rose to the occasion.
Mix taught them how and the Sea Kings were able to finish 24-0 and record their first undefeated season.
Keasey said he learned a lot from Mix, who has coached Keasey since he was in elementary school and playing for the Newport Beach Surf Dawgs.
Keasey said he probably never would have played lacrosse if it were not for a friend's dad.
Keasey's buddy was Bobby Brooks, whose father, Andy, sought Keasey out.
"He asked me to come out for lacrosse when I was in fourth grade," Keasey said. "I was a baseball kid."
Keasey kept swinging, just with a different stick and from all sorts of unusual angles.
Instead of trying to make contact with the ball, he carried the ball at the end of a stick, inside a pocket.
The ability to run around the field with friends is why Keasey fell in love with a new sport.
Keasey ran with the same crew, all the way to CdM. Keasey and some of those same friends, Michael Ortlieb, Hunter Molnar, Jack Ortlieb and Casey, ran away from the competition in high school this season.
The season played out the way Keasey dreamed of as a kid. The senior midfielder bound for Yale and the Sea Kings finished perfect.
It took the Sea Kings three trips to the U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section South Division title game to win it. Then the Sea Kings triumphed in their first appearance in the main event, the Southern Section finale. They can thank Keasey, who scored almost half the team's goals against Palos Verdes.
Keasey capped CdM's flawless season with a hat trick, giving him his 52nd, 53rd and 54th goals. Those goals proved to be enormous, the first started a rally, the second cut the deficit to two, and the third put CdM ahead for good.
Good times never seemed so good to Keasey.
Born: Feb. 2, 1994
Hometown: Newport Beach
Weight: 165 pounds
Sport: Boys' lacrosse
Coach: G.W. Mix
Favorite food: Spaghetti
Favorite movie: "Contraband"
Favorite athletic moment: "Winning [the U.S. Lacrosse] Southern Section title this year."
Week in review: Keasey produced three goals, including the go-ahead goal, helping CdM defeat Palos Verdes, 7-6, and claim its first U.S. Lacrosse Southern Section title and finish 24-0.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun