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CdM stops streak

Girls' Water Polo

McCormick counterattack helps Sea Kings beat three-time defending DI champion Dos Pueblos in season opener, stopping Chargers' 68-game winning streak.

December 02, 2011|By Matt Szabo

CORONA DEL MAR — On the day of the season opener against Dos Pueblos, Corona del Mar High girls' water polo Coach Sam Bailey received a text message.

The sender was the man Bailey replaced as CdM coach, Aaron Chaney. The message wished Bailey good luck against Dos Pueblos. It also told him to remind reporters that the Sea Kings — then coached by Chaney — were the last team to beat the Chargers nearly three years ago.

"No pressure, right?" Bailey said, smiling, after Friday's game.

Maybe just a little. CdM still proved it could stop Dos Pueblos' 68-game winning streak after outlasting the Chargers, 10-8, at CdM.

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It was the first loss for three-time defending CIF Southern Section Division I champion Dos Pueblos since Feb. 7, 2009, also to CdM in the finals of the Irvine SoCal Tournament. Dos Pueblos, led by now-graduated Kiley Neushul (Stanford) and Tiera Schroeder (Cal), went undefeated the last two seasons.

And, while the Sea Kings continue to respect the Chargers, it surely felt good to end the second-longest girls' water polo streak in Southern Section history. Bell Gardens won 85 straight games from 1998-2001.

"We definitely hold a lot of respect for Dos Pueblos," said CdM senior center Diana Murphy, who had three goals and three steals Tuesday. "The last time they lost was to us, and we wanted the next time to be to us. We wanted to break the streak, for sure, but we just wanted a good way to start the season as well."

Early in the season, CdM (1-0) is the team on top. The Sea Kings are ranked No. 1 in Division I. They return all five of their Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Dream Team selections from last year, including Player of the Year Alex Musselman in goal, Murphy, senior Pippa Saunders and juniors Cassidy Papa and Ally McCormick.

McCormick constantly hurt No. 4-ranked Dos Pueblos (1-1) on the counterattack, where the lefty scored all four of her team-high goals in the first half. The goals came on precision passes from Musselman (nine saves), and helped CdM to a 7-3 halftime advantage.

"Every single morning practice we're usually working on our counterattack," McCormick said. "It's definitely something that we're comfortable with."

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