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CdM on track

Boys' Water Polo

Sea Kings, the No. 1 seed in Division II, advances to Wednesday's semifinals after beating Riverside Poly.

November 12, 2011|By Matt Szabo
(Kevin Chang / Daily…)

CORONA DEL MAR — Last year, the Corona del Mar High boys' water polo team had to travel to Riverside for its CIF Southern Section Division II quarterfinal match against King.

This year the Sea Kings won the coin flip. They still had to play a team from Riverside in the quarterfinals, Riverside Poly, but the match was at home.

For the Sea Kings' eight seniors, Saturday's contest was the last possible home match of the season.

They made it count.

CdM cruised into the Division II semifinals after topping Poly, 18-8, behind a five-goal effort from senior two-meter man Ben Zepfel.

"We played four years here and this was our last game," said senior Ari Marks, who scored three goals Saturday. "We were going to give it all we have and try to make that final statement in the last game in our pool. That was a little bit of motivation."

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The top-seeded Sea Kings are now just two games away from defending their Division II title. They play Northwood in a semifinal match at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Irvine's Woollett Aquatics Center.

The Sea Kings beat Northwood twice in Pacific Coast League play.

Corona del Mar (23-6) encountered some resistance from Poly (19-12) early on. Zepfel scored the first two goals for the Sea Kings, but Poly answered as senior Will Weggeland scored from five meters out and Robert Bentley netted one on the counterattack.

But Marks scored a six-on-five goal to end the first quarter, and the Pacific Coast League champions dominated the second. They took a 9-4 advantage over Poly, the second-place team from the Big VIII League, into halftime.

"I think they were a little jittery in the first quarter, but once we settled down I think we got control of the game pretty well," CdM Coach Barry O'Dea said. "When Ben puts one or two away out at two meters, I think everybody starts to settle down a little bit. I think our counterattack started opening up."

Zepfel scored four of his five goals in the first half. He also drew four exclusions, helping a CdM power-play attack that went five for 10.

"Ben, this whole year, has just been incredible in two meters," CdM senior Charlie Howarth said. "The great thing about him is that we're going to get a productive game from him in any facet, whether it's scoring or drawing those ejections. I'm extremely proud of Ben's effort in two meter. We're lucky to have him."

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