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Mustangs hang on

Girls' Water Polo

Behind six goals from Thorsness, Costa Mesa edges rival Estancia in the teams' league opener.

January 11, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Kevin Chang / Daily…)

COSTA MESA — Prior to its Orange Coast League opener, the Costa Mesa High girls' water polo team spent last weekend up north at the Arroyo Grande tournament.

The young Mustangs started out slow, losing their first two games. They came back much stronger Saturday, recording a pair of victories.

"It kind of opened our eyes," junior Aubry Hill said. "When we're playing difficult teams or teams that are close to us, we really have to get on top of it and stop messing around."

When it comes to facing crosstown rival Estancia in the Battle for the Bell game, Costa Mesa has never messed around. Mesa junior Kellie Thorsness was certainly all business Wednesday at the Mustangs' pool.

Thorsness scored a game-high six goals as Costa Mesa hung on for a 7-6 victory over Estancia in the league opener. The Mustangs have never lost the rivalry game, dating back to when the programs began in the late 1990s.

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"I tried to come out really aggressive," said Thorsness, who also drew two exclusions and a penalty shot. "During this game, since it's our rival, I was like, 'All right. It's time to step it up another notch.' Normally I play pretty close to that, but today it was just like, 'It's on. I'm ready for this.'"

Costa Mesa never trailed. Thorsness made sure the Mustangs (9-9) had a fast start, scoring on her team's second possession. Then, after Thorsness stole the ball, her teammate Katurah Telles scored to give Mesa a 2-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.

Estancia (9-8) did not fold. Junior Ilene Umansky kept her team close, scoring twice in the quarter that ended with the Mustangs up, 3-2.

Umansky, who leads Orange County with 88 goals scored, added four more to her total. Mesa Coach Tim Postiff switched up his defense throughout the game, at times running a drop on two meters but at times pressing.

Aubry Hill and freshman Lauren Smith, who had three steals, helped the Mustangs out defensively. So did Hill's younger sister, sophomore Kaitlyn Hill, who had a strong game with eight saves and a steal.

"It just depended on what they came out in," Postiff said. "When they tried to isolate Umansky and leave some of their players at seven or eight yards, I feel like Kaitlyn is good enough to make those blocks. We'll give them those shots, as opposed to having [Umansky] take those shots from center. We just kind of adjusted to what they were trying to do offensively. Aubry does a good job of telling the girls where to be."

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