Sailors stuff El Toro

Newport Harbor goalie and defense hold Chargers to one goal in second half to score a key victory.

October 16, 2010|By Steve Virgen,
(Courtesy of Doug…)

EL TORO — No matter how hard Chris Whitelegge tries he can't block out the painful memory of last year's loss in the CIF Southern Section Division I boys' water polo game.

But to him it isn't so damaging. No, instead it serves as motivation for this season.

When Saturday came and El Toro (16-2) played host to Newport Harbor (15-2), Whitelegge, the Sailors' goalie, chose to block out the Chargers from his cage.

Whitelegge recorded 14 saves and led a relentless defense that shut down the Chargers for a 6-4 nonleague win.

"I thought about it a lot before the game to get myself motivated," Whitelegge said of last year's 11-9 loss to El Toro in the Division I title game. "I reminded the team. I was pumped.

"What was it like to lose [last year]? It was horrible. But it's motivation for all of us."

While the Sailors defense was impressive — holding El Toro to just one goal in the second half — the Tars remained level-headed after their performance. After all, the Chargers' star center Russell Renteria did not play, as he completed his two-match suspension for game ejections.


Nevertheless, Newport Harbor Coach Jason Lynch enjoyed the fact the Sailors shut out Joey Fuentes. The El Toro junior scored six goals to lead the Chargers to a 12-9 win over Corona del Mar Friday.

Against El Toro, senior Davy Jorth scored three goals to lead Newport Harbor, ranked No. 5 in the CIF Southern Section Division I coaches' poll.

Beating the No. 3-ranked team in Division I with sound defense gave the Sailors confidence as they head into their big Sunset League match Wednesday against Los Alamitos, ranked No. 4.

"We're just going to bring everything we have," Jorth said of Wednesday's game at Newport Harbor at 7:10 p.m. "We know we are a better team than them. We're going to be ready to play them this time."

Los Al topped the Sailors, 10-9, in overtime to win the S&R Sport Cup Oct. 9.

But the Tars believe they can beat the Griffins. They also believe they can win the CIF Division I title. Winning Saturday helped, even if it came against an El Toro team without Renteria.

"Obviously our game plan would change with him playing," Lynch said. "I would hope we could contain him to three and it's a ball game. I told [the Sailors] before the game they had to believe in themselves because [the Chargers] believe in themselves."

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