IRVINE — Carly Christian made a back-door cut, like a basketball player going up for an alley-oop.
Maddy McLaren found Christian with a precise cross-pool pass and Christian put the shot away. Eighteen seconds into the game, the Newport Water Polo Foundation 18-and-under girls had the lead.
A fast start was going to be important against a tough opponent, Stanford Red, at the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics. Newport made sure it stood up, holding on for a 9-5 victory in its second pool-play game Thursday afternoon at Beckman High.
Tenth-seeded Newport, consisting solely of Newport Harbor High players, advanced to the platinum bracket, assuring itself a place in the top 24. Newport plays the seventh-seeded San Diego Shores "A" team Friday at 8 a.m. at Santa Margarita High. Then, Newport will play second-seeded Huntington Beach Water Polo Blue — featuring former Newport Harbor goalie Sarah Wilkey — at 11 a.m. at Santa Margarita.