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CdM reaches CIF final

Sea Kings withstand Foothill's Paul Reynolds' barrage and make CIF title match for first time since 2002.

November 17, 2010|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com
  • Corona del Mar's Hayden Leach (5) fires a shot against Foothill goalie Jonathan McNab.
Corona del Mar's Hayden Leach (5) fires a shot against… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

IRVINE — Will Havercroft looked at Evan Ramsey before the fourth quarter began at the Woollett Aquatics Center.

As the two leaned on the pool lane line, it was time to say something, senior to senior.

"This is not going to be our last quarter of high school water polo," Havercroft said. "Let's go!"

Ramsey, who said later that he was "so pumped up," went down and won the sprint, his fourth of the night. Now the season is just as short as that dash to the middle of the pool.

One game is all that remains between the Corona del Mar High boys' water polo team and the CIF Southern Section Division II title after the Sea Kings topped Foothill, 15-13, in a wild semifinal game Wednesday night.

"We put in a good team effort today," CdM Coach Barry O'Dea said. "They followed our game plan we put together for this game … This team, from the beginning of August until now, has just been moving forward every single week."

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No. 2-seeded Corona del Mar (22-8) will play top-seeded Murrieta Valley (27-3) in the final at 2:45 p.m. Saturday, back at Irvine High. Murrieta Valley rallied to defeat Long Beach Wilson, 9-8, in the other semifinal.

It's the first time in eight years that the Sea Kings have made the CIF finals, as they try to win their 13th CIF title overall.

"It's awesome," said senior hole/set Chase Watson, who scored a team-high five goals. "It's an awesome group of guys. It's my favorite group of guys I've ever played with. We're just playing together really well, and we're going to win it all."

Ramsey had a season-high four goals and two steals and senior Hayden Leach added three goals and a pair of steals for CdM. Havercroft had two goals and a team-high four steals and senior lefty Chris Robertson also added a goal.

For a while in the semifinals, it looked like one-on-six. The one was Foothill senior driver Paul Reynolds, who scored the first six goals of the game for the Knights (21-9). At halftime, it was Corona del Mar 8, Reynolds 6, and Reynolds finished with a game-high eight goals.

"I respect Paul so much," Ramsey said. "I respect him the most out of any high school player. As a team, they all kind of work around him. And when you have a team like our team where we're all working together … one man can't beat a team. But he almost made me eat those words."

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