CdM, Newport ready for JOs

Girls' Water Polo

Senior leaders Saunders, McLaren say they're ready for four-day tournament against top club teams.

August 03, 2011|By Matt Szabo,

Both the CdM Aquatics and Newport Water Polo Foundation 18-and-under girls' water polo teams have reasons for optimism headed into the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics.

CdM is coming off a title at the California High School State Championships on July 24. Newport will have its best returning player, incoming senior Maddy McLaren, back for JOs.

The optimism is good because the local squads typically find the four-day tournament, which begins Thursday at pools around Orange County, a bit challenging. They are two of the few essentially high school teams in the draw, going up against all-star clubs. Both ninth-seeded CdM and 10th-seeded Newport play at Beckman High on Thursday.


CdM opens against Princeton at 8 a.m., and a win would mean another match against either Falcon or San Diego Shores "B" back at Beckman at 1 p.m. Newport plays Blue Crush at 10 a.m., and with a win would play eitherStanford Red or Ohlone at 3 p.m.

Two wins Thursday and a team makes it into the platinum bracket, which means a top-24 finish among the 48 teams competing.

CdM incoming senior Pippa Saunders said she's excited about her team's progress. CdM defeated Foothill in the California State High School Championships final despite missing two of its top attackers. Junior-to-be Cassidy Papa was in Hungary training with the U.S. youth national team. Saunders said lefty Ally McCormick, another junior-to-be, has had limited availability this summer due to her job as a lifeguard in Laguna Beach.

Saunders said Papa is back with CdM for the Junior Olympics. McCormick is on the roster but may not play Saturday and Sunday.

Their absence at the state championships tournament allowed other players to step up, like incoming freshman Eliza Britt, sophomore-to-be Avery Warwick (whom Saunders said is a strong defender) and junior-to-be attackers Morgan Stewart and Genevieve Weed. Stewart had 10 goals in the tournament, second on the team.

"We're [seeded] ninth [at Junior Olympics] and it's respectable for an all-high school team, you know?" Saunders said. "I think from JO [qualifications] up until now, we've done a really great job of having everyone step up into a position to be a threat. This team's a threat, for sure.

"It was great to see a lot of the younger girls stepping up. To me, it was exactly what we needed."

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