Watson steps up to call

CdM senior, who helped lead team to first CIF title in nine years, highlights eight-player Dream Team.

December 23, 2010|By Matt Szabo,
(Don Leach / Daily…)

Chase Watson went into the Battle of the Bay game on Oct. 23 fired up, just like his teammates on the Corona del Mar High boys' water polo team.

The 6-foot-7 senior center gave a performance to remember, scoring six goals in the Sea Kings' 13-10 victory over Back Bay rival Newport Harbor.

After the season was over, Watson looked back on the big victory that sparked CdM's season. He said he remembered someone else on that special day.

It was his grandfather, Jess, who would have been celebrating his 90th birthday. Jess passed away last year.

"I went to lunch with my grandma the day before," Chase Watson said. "My dad was really emotional the day before."

Chase Watson made all parties proud. He made plenty of people proud in a season that ended with a Pacific Coast League crown and, ultimately, the CIF Southern Section Division II title.


For those accomplishments and his sheer dominance at two meters, Watson is the Daily Pilot Dream Team Player of the Year.

The Pacific Coast League Co-MVP and first-team All-CIF Southern Section Division II selection scored 85 goals. He also came up biggest when it counted, scoring five goals in both the Division II semifinal win over Foothill and the 11-10 championship match victory over Murrieta Valley.

"He was the most dominant offensive player," Coach Barry O'Dea said. "It didn't matter what division we were in. He was the best center in the state, as far as I'm concerned. There's nobody who could guard him one-on-one. Everybody had to to run a zone on him, or else he's going to tear them up on the inside."

The passes back out from two meters opened up shots for the Sea Kings' perimeter players. O'Dea said Watson also improved a lot defensively, as well as with his swimming.

Watson said he was thankful for O'Dea's help as well as assistant coach Ryan Bailey, a three-time Olympican and a former four-time All-American center with UC Irvine.

Watson, a repeat Dream Team selection, came into his own after two-time Dream Team Player of the Year Max Bergeson graduated and went to Cal.

He turned into a beast at two meters. He had a good backhand and plenty of power moves to beat a double-team, and Watson showed those off in the breakthrough game against Newport Harbor.

After each of his five goals, he celebrated, most often pointing both index fingers to the sky.

By the end of the year, Watson made sure the Sea Kings earned that No. 1 status. He helped bring a CIF championship banner to the CdM gym.

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