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Girls' Water Polo Dream Team: McLaren helped Sailors to top

Senior defender, the Newport-Mesa Player of the Year, was a catalyst on team that captured Newport Harbor's fifth CIF Southern Section crown.

April 11, 2012|By Matt Szabo

McLaren provided valuable leadership for Newport Harbor. The Sunset League co-Player of the Year helped the Sailors win the league title despite immense challenges from Los Alamitos and Edison, guarding center standouts like her future UCLA teammates Rachel Fattal and Alys Williams each time. McLaren, a first-team CIF Southern Section Division 1 selection for the second straight year, also led Newport with 72 goals.

McLaren also earned all-tournament team honors at both the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions and the SoCal Championships.

Newport Harbor Coach Bill Barnett talked during the season about this being his best team, as far as everyone embracing her role and meshing. McLaren definitely had more than one of those roles.

"She's a very good all-around player and an extremely hard worker," Barnett said. "I really think her forte is defense, but with her speed and her experience, she's also a very outstanding offensive player."

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The super-competitive McLaren can be super-proud of the way her high school career ended.

"I'm glad that, at least once, I got to win CIF," she said. "I came out to play high school water polo to win a CIF championship, and that's what I got to do."

The Back Bay Division 1 final was part of a banner year in Newport-Mesa for girls' water polo. Here's a look at the other 13 players on the 2011-12 Dream Team:

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Alex Musselman

Corona del Mar

After earning Newport-Mesa Dream Team Player of the Year accolades as a junior, the UCLA-bound Musselman offered quite an encore as a senior. Musselman made 291 saves for Corona del Mar (28-3), finishing with an Orange County-record 891 saves in her high school career. The Pacific Coast League MVP and a first-team All-CIF selection, Musselman anchored the defense for Coach Sam Bailey's Sea Kings and also sparked the offense with her counterattack passing skills, helping CdM maintain the top ranking for most of the season and advance to the CIF title match.

Musselman, named the Outstanding Goalie at the Irvine Southern California Championships, also provided one of the most memorable moments of this — or any other — high school season. She scored full-tank at the fourth-quarter buzzer to lift CdM to an unbelievable 6-5 comeback victory at Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay match.

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Presley Pender

Newport Harbor

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