IRVINE — It was physical from the very start.
Players from the Newport Harbor High and Corona del Mar boys' water polo teams never stopped jostling for position. The game had a playoff atmosphere with CIF still a month away, and it was easy to understand why.
This was the teams' first rivalry match of the year, under the lights in the title match of the S&R Sport Cup.
But the Sailors did the most important thing as tempers momentarily flared up Saturday night. They went up on the scoreboard at Woollett Aquatics Center.
Top-seeded Newport Harbor built a lead in the first half and defeated CdM, 9-7, for the title.
As an assistant coach on the U.S. men's senior national team and co-coach of the junior national team, Robert Lynn has coached in plenty of intense games against powerhouse European programs. The first-year Newport Harbor coach smiled when asked about his first official matchup against the Sailors' Back Bay rivals.