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Sailors take control

Boys' Water Polo

Newport Harbor, featuring six goals from Fink, earns key Sunset League win over visiting Huntington Beach.

October 19, 2011|By Matt Szabo
(Kevin Chang / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — Newport Harbor High junior Curtis Fink has been feeling sick for more than a week.

How sick?

Fink said he vomited three times during the Sailors' nonleague victory over El Toro on Saturday. The past week, he's been down about 10 pounds.

On Wednesday night, Newport Harbor had a must-win Sunset League showdown against Huntington Beach. It was not an ideal time for one of the Sailors' top players to be under the weather.

Fink still came up huge.

How huge?

He scored a career-high six goals as the Sailors started strong and beat the Oilers, 11-9, Wednesday night at Newport Harbor High. And after the game, he shrugged it off.

"I'm not really worried about my performance," Fink said. "My team, they backed me up and they helped support me. They actually were the ones getting me open, and [Andrew] Silvers and Farrel [South] and [Ryan] Fowler were all the ones drawing the six-on-fives. The coach prepared us for the types of plays we were going to run, and we just executed well."

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The Sailors (16-1, 3-0 in league) took the upper hand over Huntington Beach (19-4, 2-1) in the league title race with two matches to go. Los Alamitos is also 3-0 in league but has played neither Newport nor Huntington Beach; the Griffins and Sailors meet Oct. 26.

Newport Harbor, which also solidified its No. 2 spot in the CIF Southern Section Division I coaches' poll, is going for its second straight league title. The Tars also won the title in 2009 but had to forfeit it due to using an academically ineligible player.

Fink consistently hurt the Oilers, ranked No. 4 in Division I. He scored three times in the first quarter, including one on a redirect of a precise pass from fellow junior Preston Lee, as the Sailors jumped out to a 5-1 lead.

By halftime, Fink had five goals as Newport maintained a 7-4 edge. He finished the game shooting six for seven.

"We just came together in that first quarter," said Lee, who had a game-high three steals. "Everyone was playing well together. Curtis just frickin' caught fire. He was a beast. But yeah, we were super pumped up and all on the same page."

Huntington Beach responded to the Sailors dropping on two-meter man Ian Arnold, shooting almost exclusively from the outside. Senior Noah Harrison led the way with four goals.

Each time he scored, the 15 or so in-uniform Huntington Beach cheerleaders in the stands got excited. The shot that brought the Oilers the closest was bar-in with 5:22 left in the third quarter, cutting the Tars' lead to 8-6.

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