Newport, CdM girls into semis

Local teams easily advance to final four at California State High School Championships.

July 21, 2012|By Matt Szabo

CORONA DEL MAR — A CIF Southern Section girls' water polo title is not won in July, but the members of the Newport Harbor girls' water polo team feel comfortable with the pieces they have in place.

The defending Division 1 champions are expected to return four starters in the winter. On Saturday at Corona del Mar High, they showed that they already appear to be on the same page.

Newport Harbor advanced to the semifinals of the California State High School Championships, beating San Clemente, 12-4. Earlier in the day, the Sailors got by San Ramon Valley, 13-2.


Corona del Mar also advanced to the semifinals by posting two wins. The Sea Kings defeated Carlsbad, 16-7, before topping Murrieta Valley, 13-5, in the quarterfinals.

Defending champion CdM plays El Toro in the first semifinal at 10 a.m. Sunday, back at CdM. Newport Harbor plays Santa Barbara in the second semifinal at 11 a.m.

The tournament championship is scheduled for 3 p.m., also at CdM.

Newport Harbor had few problems against San Clemente, taking a 5-1 lead after the first quarter. Ciera Dixon scored twice in the frame, and fellow incoming seniors Carly Christian, Elissia Schilling and Carolyn Smith also scored. Christian, Avery Peterson and Schilling each had nice assists on the goals to help Newport Harbor get going.

"Good team effort," Newport Coach Bill Barnett said. "I think, as a team, we're playing really well. The girls are really finding each other. They know what each of them can do. I think it comes with a lot of practice."

Christian led Newport Harbor with three goals, and Schilling and Dixon had two each. Peterson, Smith, Christina O'Beck, Rachel Whitelegge and Heidi Fults also scored for Newport Harbor. Goalie Cleo Harrington made four saves and had two steals.

"I feel like this summer we've been playing really well together," said Peterson, who added a game-high five steals. "We know exactly what each other's strengths and weaknesses are. We're actually playing great with each other, which is really exciting for us during the summer. We have a long way to go, to improve even, which is fun to know."

The semifinal match against Santa Barbara should also be fun. Last weekend at the Santa Barbara Summer Tournament of Champions, Peterson said the Sailors lost a late lead before falling to the Dons, 8-6, in a semifinal match. Newport Harbor went on two beat CdM in sudden-death overtime in the third-place match.

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