Newport settles for fourth at TOC

Sailors edged by Griffins, but teams meet again Wednesday with much more on the line.

January 15, 2011|By Matt Szabo,
(Courtesy of Peter…)

SANTA BARBARA — They mean no disrespect to the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions, but the Newport Harbor High and Los Alamitos girls' water polo teams treated Saturday's third-place match like a glorified scrimmage.

The Sailors and Griffins can get a step closer to the championship they really want Wednesday night at Newport Harbor.

For the record, second-seeded Los Alamitos edged fourth-seeded Newport Harbor, 9-8, in both teams' final game of the TOC. The Sailors fell to top-seeded Dos Pueblos, the eventual champion, 13-6, in the semifinals.

The game Wednesday night is the third Sunset League game, at 7 p.m. at Newport Harbor High. The team that wins it has the inside track on the league championship, as well as the No. 2 overall seed in the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs.

And when the likely top seed is two-time defending Division I champion Dos Pueblos, which is now nursing a 52-game winning streak, you definitely want to be on the other side of the bracket.


"This game [Saturday], it was sort of important because it's third place in a really big tournament," Newport senior defender Catherine Carpenter said. "But Wednesday night is what really matters. That's what's going to matter for CIF seedings. It's pretty much our biggest game of the season before CIF. This was sort of like a warm up, but you could tell our teams were out of it a little bit."

Carpenter made the all-tournament team for the Sailors (12-3). She had two goals and a steal in the third-place game, and also drew three exclusions.

The Sailors were balanced, as senior Kailyn Obenauer, junior Maddy McLaren and sophomore Carly Christian also scored two goals each. UCLA-bound senior goalie Sarah Wilkey made 11 saves and had two steals.

Newport took a 9-8 lead early in the fourth on Carpenter's backhand goal from set, but the Griffins' Stephanie Mutafyan scored twice after that, the game-winning goal coming from about five meters out with 1:58 left in the fourth quarter.

Neither team got too excited. Los Al (17-2) didn't play starting goalie Savanna Smith, and Newport Coach Bill Barnett rested three of his starters in the third quarter with the score tied at 5-5.

The problem to Barnett was that the Sailors weren't excited enough in the semifinal loss to Dos Pueblos either. Kiley Neushul, the tournament MVP and a Stanford signee, will be a teammate of Carpenter's with the Cardinal next year. But Saturday morning she just continually made Newport Harbor pay, scoring seven goals.

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