Corona del Mar denied

Sea Kings hold lead throughout first half, but Dos Pueblos wins 46th straight game and repeats as Holiday Cup champ.

December 31, 2010|By Matt Szabo,
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — If Friday afternoon's Holiday Cup title match was a case of David vs. Goliath, Corona del Mar had its collective slingshot aimed at Dos Pueblos and ready to fire.

The Sea Kings are too good to play the David role. But as the game went on, the Chargers proved why they remain giants of the CIF Division I girls' water polo scene.

Dos Pueblos survived a scare and rallied to defend its tournament title, 9-7. The top-seeded Chargers kept intact their 46-match winning streak, which dates back nearly two years to when CdM defeated them in February, 2009.

It wasn't easy for the two-time defending Division I champions. Not with Dos Pueblos senior star Kiley Neushul yelling at her team in the middle of the pool midway through the third quarter and the Chargers (9-0) still trailing by a goal.

Corona del Mar (4-4) built off a come-from-behind, 8-7 overtime victory over Laguna Beach in a tournament semifinal. The Sea Kings started the match against Dos Pueblos on fire.


Junior Diana Murphy and sophomore Ally McCormick each scored twice in the first quarter, helping the Sea Kings out to a 4-2 lead after McCormick's power-play strike on Cassidy Papa's assist. They nearly went up three, but Papa's flip after beating a Dos Pueblos double-team hit the bar.

The Chargers drew closer after Cal-bound Tiera Schroeder's goal, but CdM junior Pippa Saunders answered from set with 3:52 before halftime on a pass from senior Maddie Schwartz. The Sea Kings took the 5-3 lead into halftime, not losing intensity like they might have after squandering a three-goal lead in the Battle of the Bay on Dec. 17.

"I think we did a really good job of playing together throughout the entire game, which was great to see," Murphy said. "Everyone was setting each other up. I think in previous games we've come out in the first quarter fired up and maybe let down a little bit, but I feel like [today] we kept our intensity all the way through."

The problem was, Dos Pueblos picked up its intensity as well. The Chargers went into a heavy press and scored three unanswered goals in the third quarter, taking their first lead on Neushul's strike with 52 seconds left in the quarter.

"It's important that we remember that this game is fun, but it's also very serious," said the Stanford-bound Neushul. "We're very serious about it. Sometimes even I get a little bit, you know, 'This game's going to be kind of easy.' But it wasn't. CdM's a very good team and we can't be like that at all."

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