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Sea Kings denied CIF crown

Boys’ Water Polo

Long Beach Wilson hangs on to win Division II title, crushing CdM's hopes of back-to-back crowns.

November 19, 2011|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar's Wes Sherburne battles for a loose ball during the first half against Long Beach Wilson.
Corona del Mar's Wes Sherburne battles for a loose… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

IRVINE — The Corona del Mar and Long Beach Wilson high school boys' water polo teams played for the third time this season Saturday.

Corona del Mar had won the first two games in overtime. This one was more important, as the traditional powerhouses played with the CIF Southern Section Division II title on the line.

Wilson Coach Tony Martinho figured his No. 3-seeded Bruins had more than an outside shot against the top-seeded Sea Kings.

The outside shot of junior Maxwell Irving was almost all Wilson needed to pull the upset.

Irving scored a match-high four goals and also made a key defensive play as the Sea Kings were stunned, 7-6, before a standing-room only crowd of about 1,500 at Woollett Aquatics Center.

CdM (24-7), which returned no starters from last year's CIF championship team, came up just short in its bid to repeat. Wilson (21-10) won its first CIF title since 2005, and its first in Division II.

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"We had a good season," CdM Coach Barry O'Dea said. "Obviously we would have liked to have won it, but Long Beach played a good game. And we played a good game. It was a one-goal game. We missed some shots, missed some six-on-fives and that's that. Championships come down to putting away your six-on-fives and playing some defense, and Wilson did it better than we did today."

The Sea Kings converted just four of 11 on the power-play, a statistic O'Dea called "rough." Wilson was four of eight.

A lot of the credit for CdM's struggles had to go to Wilson senior goalie Nick Hoy, who made 15 saves. Martinho said it was Hoy's best game of the season.

Corona del Mar, which was the top-ranked team in Division II all season, led Saturday's game by a 4-3 score at halftime. Ben Zepfel, Reid Chase, Charlie Howarth and Jake Wyatt all found the back of the net for the Sea Kings in the first half.

But Wilson (21-10) got a power-play strike from junior Jackson Kimbell before Irving struck for his third goal from up, as the Bruins took a 5-4 edge less than two minutes into the third quarter.

From there, CdM played catch-up. Irving again found the lower-right corner on a six-on-five to up the Bruins' lead to two goals, before Zepfel scored on a spin move from five meters midway through the third quarter.

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