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Boys' water polo preview: Title Chase now on at CdM

Senior Chase Watson will be the man at two meters this year for Corona del Mar.

August 27, 2010|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com

Key newcomers: Hayden Leach (Sr.), center defender; Emery Molnar (Sr.), center; Evan Ramsey (Sr.), driver; Miles Carpenter (Sr.), driver; Chris Robertson (Sr.), driver; Will Havercroft (Sr.), driver; Ben Zepfel (Jr.), utility; Ari Marks (Jr.), driver; Wesley Sherburne (Jr.), driver

Key dates: South Coast Tournament, Sept. 23-25; SoCal Invitational, Oct. 8-9; Newport Harbor (home), Oct. 23; NorCal Invitational, Oct. 29-30

Outlook: Watson will definitely be a go-to guy at center for the Sea Kings a year after scoring 68 goals. He will need to stand as tall as his height as the club lost its top two players — Pacific Coast League Co-MVPs Max Bergeson and Michael Liao. Bergeson was the Newport-Mesa Player of the Year each of the past two seasons. CdM is now in Division II and will try to make its first CIF final appearance under O'Dea. It's a good sign that they also return their goalie in Bearer, who earned his way into a starting spot late last year. O'Dea said he will look for more senior leadership from guys like Leach and Molnar, as well as Ramsey, a driver who O'Dea said is coming off a strong summer. O'Dea also possesses two lefties in Carpenter and Robinson.

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COSTA MESA

Coach: Justin Taylor (fourth year)

2009 record: 1-3 in the Orange Coast League (fourth)

Returning starters: James Lewis (Jr.), center; Mitchell Grandia (Jr.), goalie

Key newcomers: Wyatt Ferris (So.), center defender; Jamie Sacco (Jr.), utility

Key dates: Costa Mesa tournament, Sept. 24-25; Oct. 13 vs. Sage Hill at Corona del Mar; Oct. 27 at Estancia.

Outlook: Taylor called it a rebuilding year after Costa Mesa graduated two of its top three scorers in center Joey Dinh and Chingiz Bigalimov. Those two players and Lewis all tied for the team lead with 46 goals last year. Grandia is the other returning starter after winning the starting goalie job midway through last season. Taylor hesitated to list more than a couple key newcomers; he is looking for players to step up and the 6-foot-3 Ferris and the well-rounded Sacco could be two of those players. The Mustangs will have to battle to improve last year's fourth-place showing in league, although games with familiar rivals Estancia and Sage Hill should be interesting. Taylor also said Orange Coast League newcomer Saddleback has a strong team.

ESTANCIA

Coach: John Carpenter (32nd year)

2009 record: 19-9, 2-2 in the Orange Coast League (third)

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