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Musselman's full-tank toss mesmerizes

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Corona del Mar goalie's game-winning shot against Newport Harbor is the type of play that's sure to be remembered.

December 23, 2011|By Steve Virgen
(Scott Smeltzer…)

How great was Alex Musselman's game-winning shot in the 2011 Battle of the Bay for girls' water polo?

It was so great people are still talking about it, still congratulating Corona del Mar High's senior star goalie. People will most likely talk about that shot for a long time.

How great was that shot?

It was so great it deserves a nickname. Like Dwight Clark's "The Catch" for the San Francisco 49ers.

Call this one, "The Full-Tank Toss." But Musselman's shot was more like a heave. The shot was so smooth that it only appeared to be like a simple toss. Yet there was nothing simple about this goal.

CdM Coach Sam Bailey never saw a game end the way Musselman finished off rival Newport Harbor.

The clock had less than a second showing, 0.65 to be exact, when Musselman quickly threw the ball toward the other side of the pool. As the ball traveled in the air, people could sense it was going in.

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But there was no way it would go in. Would it?

Count it.

Musselman's amazing goal gave CdM a 6-5 win against Newport Harbor. It set off cheers for the Sea King fans and silenced the Sailor supporters.

Mostly everyone said, "Wow." And mostly everyone knew Musselman would be named Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week.

"Everybody's still talking about it," Bailey said. "I've been getting text messages from Adam Krikorian (U.S. women's water polo coach), Matt Flesher (Cal assistant women's water polo coach) and Brandon Books (UCLA women's water polo coach). They were commenting about it. Everyone knows about this game. She's famous."

Both teams entered the game unbeaten, CdM as the top-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division I poll and Newport Harbor as No. 2. For a game that took place so early in the season it still had playoff atmosphere.

The Dec. 16 win was huge for the Sea Kings (3-0), who had lost five straight to the Sailors (3-1).

"It's early in the season, but the game obviously means a lot to both schools," Bailey said. "I hear Newport athletes say the highlight of the year is that game. The similarities are the same from CdM. But we keep reiterating this is one step closer to the ultimate goal.

"As much as the win is great, the fact the girls came back and kept their composure speaks volumes of their confidence and their belief in each other."

Bailey definitely has confidence in his goalie, who was named the Newport-Mesa Player of the Year by the Daily Pilot last season.

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