NEWPORT BEACH — As the California State High School Water Polo Championships approached, goalie Koby Yokota could hear something knocking, figuratively speaking, of course.
It was opportunity.
Yokota, the Newport Harbor High boys' back-up goalie, knew that starter Chris Whitelegge wouldn't be competing in the tournament that started Friday in Orange County.
Whitelegge, as well as fellow Newport Harbor Sailor Farrel South, are competing with the U.S. men's junior national team at an eight-nation tournament in Italy.
Before the state tournament began Friday, Newport Harbor Coach Jason Lynch spoke to Yokota.
"This is your last opportunity before Whitelegge comes back," Lynch said of what he told Yokota.
The Newport Harbor junior-to-be has been stepping up. He stood out in the Sailors' 15-4 quarterfinal win over Servite Saturday at Newport Harbor.
Yokota had 12 saves, including five in the final quarter.
"He did make some great saves," Lynch said. "That was one of his better games."