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Tars rally for big win

Girls' Water Polo

Schilling scores five goals, as Newport Harbor owns fourth quarter to move ahead of defending champ Los Alamitos in league.

January 18, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — It looked like the shot in the closing minutes bounced square off the noggin of Newport Harbor High sophomore goalie Cleo Harrington.

Harrington said it only hit her on the right shoulder before brushing by her face. If she had taken the head shot in the key Sunset League girls' water polo game, it still wouldn't have been an issue.

"I don't mind it, as long as it doesn't go in," she said.

The Sailors' resiliency certainly went a long way Wednesday night in possibly determining the league champion.

Newport Harbor appears poised to take back the crown after rallying in the fourth quarter for a huge victory over Los Alamitos, 9-7, at Newport Harbor High.

The Sailors (12-4, 3-0 in league), ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Division I coaches' poll, are now in outright first place with two league games remaining. They can secure their fifth outright Sunset League crown in six years, and the important CIF Southern Section Division I seeding that goes with it, by beating Marina on Feb. 1 and Edison on Feb. 8.

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Defending league champion Los Alamitos (15-4, 2-1), ranked No. 3 in Division I, dropped into a tie for second place in league. There were plenty of Sailors who helped make it happen.

Junior Elissia Schilling scored a season-high five goals. Schilling, who delivered the game-winner in sudden-death overtime to help the Sailors rally past Laguna Beach in last Friday's Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions quarterfinal, also again delivered in clutch moments.

Newport Harbor came into the fourth quarter of Wednesday's game down, 7-6, but junior Avery Peterson scored a lob from set to tie the score with 5:48 left. Then Schilling went to work, taking Peterson's pass to score her own lob shot with 4:28 remaining that gave the Tars an 8-7 lead.

Schilling even provided the insurance goal on a clean backhand goal with 1:07 to play. Peterson got a field block on the defensive end and Newport was on its way to a big victory.

"Every day in practice, at two meters we're working hard," Schilling said. "Avery, me, Maddy [McLaren], Allyson [Hall], Paisley [Muller]. There's just so many girls on our team that can guard, drive and go in and post up. That definitely was a huge advantage, I feel, for us this game.

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