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CdM can count on McCormick

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Junior lefty, a strong force on the counterattack, came up big in season opener for Sea Kings.

December 10, 2011|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar girls' water polo junior Ally McCormick is the Athlete of the Week.
Corona del Mar girls' water polo junior Ally McCormick… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

In water polo, left-handers are quite a commodity.

They provide balance to an offensive attack and an extra dimension to the six-on-five, since they don't have to shoot across their bodies like their right-handed counterparts. They can throw defenses off-balance.

But after spending the summer working as a lifeguard in Laguna Beach, Corona del Mar High junior lefty Ally McCormick threw her own coach for a loop this fall in a night league game.

Sam Bailey put McCormick in. He saw no rust.

"She came off the bench and took over the game," Bailey said. "It wasn't what I was necessarily expecting. It took me by surprise, but Ally plays up to the occasion. It didn't take her very long to be right back up at the top of the list."

McCormick started off the high school season on fire, too. Three-time defending CIF Southern Section Division I champion Dos Pueblos was the team she threw off-balance in CdM's season opener Dec. 2.

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McCormick scored four goals in the first half, all on the counterattack. She was a big reason why the Sea Kings ended the Chargers' 68-game winning streak, 10-8, at CdM.

The Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, who also scored twice in CdM's 7-5 victory over Santa Barbara the following day, is a valuable player for CdM for many reasons. The counterattack is where McCormick's standout speed is obvious. Either she or fellow junior Cassidy Papa is always a threat to take a long pass from senior goalie Alex Musselman and burn the defense.

"We're really working on a six-person counter this year," McCormick said. "I didn't go into [the Dos Pueblos game] thinking I was going to counter that much, but when I had those opportunities I really tried to do well. Cassidy and I have been teammates for such a long time. We know when to pass each other the ball and we can really work, especially on our three-on-two counter and our two-on-one counter. It makes it even better."

Nobody should doubt McCormick's speed. She is the one who set the girls' school record in the 100-yard freestyle (51.94 seconds) last year at the Pacific Coast League finals. Her freshman year, she was on a CdM 200 free relay team with Margot Money, Hollace Barden and Brynne Wong that also set a school record (1:39.23) at CIF finals.

Swimming is a necessary evil for many water polo players to stay in shape, but McCormick enjoys it. One thing about her is that she is well-rounded.

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