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Cif Southern Section Division I Championship:

CdM shy again

WATER POLO: For the second straight year, Sea Kings come up short in CIF Division I title game, this time to Dos Pueblos.

February 28, 2009|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

IRVINE — One thing the Corona del Mar High girls’ water polo team does is visualize success.

In one of the rare times this season, Coach Aaron Chaney struggled with the right words after the Sea Kings came up short. There was no speech planned after the CIF Southern Section Division I championship.

“I was realizing winning,” said Chaney, who saw a group of Sea Kings soaking in tears while their opponents splashed into the pool.

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Chaney pictured being pushed into the water, fully clothed, not Dos Pueblos Coach Danelle Little.

A couple of feet away, Chaney saw Little have more than a little fun Saturday night. It was Little’s 31st birthday the day before and her gift from her players was a Division I championship.

Little held it high. Chaney saw it get away again.

The No. 2-seeded Chargers beat No. 1 CdM, 3-2, at Irvine High. For the second straight season, Chaney walked away knowing the Sea Kings’ goal of claiming a Division I title ended.

So close, so painful. Back-to-back runner-up finishes for the Sea Kings (29-2).

What do you tell your girls after not being able to win the program’s first Division I title?

“If I look disappointed, I’m not disappointed in you, I’m disappointed for you because you guys really deserve this,” Chaney said he told his players before continuing on with, “I don’t know what to tell you.

“Hard work doesn’t guarantee success. Hard work guarantees you an opportunity for success.”

Success is what CdM has visualized and experienced all season.

The season started and ended with Dos Pueblos (28-3).

The Sea Kings began a 14-game winning streak on Dec. 5 at Dos Pueblos. The streak ended at Dos Pueblos on Jan. 17.

Another winning streak started, 15 straight, and Dos Pueblos stopped it Saturday.

The one team that beat CdM earlier in the season did so again, surprising Chaney in how it pulled it off. The Sea Kings blanked sophomore star Kiley Neushul with stellar defense by Heather Van Hiel.

The only times Neushul had been held scoreless was due to being held out of matches because of a right thumb injury.

“If you had asked me before the game if we held them to three goals would we win the game, I’d say, ‘Yeah,’ ” said Chaney, who was looking to add to the program’s trophy case of four Division II titles and one Division IV title. “I thought that we would get more than two goals.”

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