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CdM makes big splash

Water polo: Sea Kings edge Dos Pueblos to capture their first Irvine Southern California Championships title.

February 07, 2009|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

Dos Pueblos was without goalie Sami Hill, who was in a jumpsuit and sporting a cast because of a broken right thumb. CdM freshman Pippa Saunders was in sweats and a long-sleeved shirt after injuring her nose on the first day of the tournament.

“I think both teams played with more energy in the semifinals,” Chaney said. “I’ve seen us play better. That wasn’t one of our better games.”

The Sea Kings’ effort was good enough to get payback and beat Dos Pueblos for the second time this season.

CdM lost to Dos Pueblos, 6-4, in the semifinals of the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions on Jan 17.

This time it was CdM taking the lead into the fourth period. Behind two goals each from Molnar and Victoria Kennedy, the Sea Kings led, 7-5.

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Before the start of the final period, Chaney gathered his players and spoke up.

“You guys always wondered how … we always stack up against these [top] teams,” Chaney said. “Here’s the chance. Why not go out and do it right now.”

Rain began to come down hard and it wasn’t CdM striking first.

Fourteen seconds into the fourth, Dos Pueblos sophomore star Kiley Neushul scored on a lob, beating goalie Kate Baldoni for the third time.

Baldoni later responded after the Sea Kings’ lead dwindled to one. Helping her out was Kate Berry.

The senior took some of Chaney’s advice at halftime to heart. From the right side, Berry skipped a shot past goalie Nicole Morelos’ left side to push the advantage back to two with 4:28 left.

“[He] told us to shoot low and it will go in,” Berry said.

Thirty-four seconds later, the Chargers made it a one-goal match again. They converted their third power-play goal. Tiera Schroeder burned CdM this time after Neushul had on the other two advantages.

The rest of the way, Baldoni stopped every Dos Pueblos offering.

The biggest save came at the 2:40 mark. Neushul got in deep and fired a shot many believed was a sure goal. But Baldoni leaped and blocked it and the Sea Kings got to the loose ball.

There was one more opportunity for Dos Pueblos to tie it and send it into overtime. With 30 seconds left, the Chargers moved the ball around, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.

“It was kind of nerve-racking,” said Baldoni, who finished with 10 saves and was named the tournament’s outstanding goalie. “I thought they’d get a shot off quicker.”

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