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Sailors edge Bruins in boys' water polo game

Boys' Water Polo

Newport Harbor holds off Long Beach Wilson after Fink scores with 65 seconds left.

September 11, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Courtesy of Doug…)

NEWPORT BEACH — Newport Harbor High boys' water polo Coach Robert Lynn said he loved the back-and-forth nature of Tuesday's game against Long Beach Wilson.

The teams traded goals, field blocks and big saves for the duration.

"I liked that game," Lynn said. "Even if we would have lost, I'd tell you the same thing. I wish we had that game every week for 10 months in a row. It's only going to help us get better."

Of course, Lynn also liked that the Sailors were able to come out with the victory.

Newport Harbor senior Curtis Fink scored the game-winning goal with 1:05 left to lift the Sailors past the Bruins, 10-9, in the nonleague match at Newport Harbor High.

Lynn, a Long Beach resident who coached many of the Wilson players as they grew up in youth water polo, said he told Wilson senior Jackson Kimbell after the game that he wouldn't be surprised to see the Bruins, last year's CIF Southern Section Division 2 champions, in the Division 1 final.

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"Those guys are talented kids," Lynn said. "They've got the makings right there. Jackson's a very strong kid, and Maxwell [Irving] is a very disciplined, good, creative shooter. We knew it was going to be difficult for us. This is our first real challenge."

Kimbell and Irving played with Newport Beach Water Polo Club over the summer, helping the club get a bronze medal in the 18-and-under division at the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics. On Tuesday, they almost helped hand the Sailors (2-0), ranked No. 2 in Division 1, their first loss of the season.

Wilson, ranked No. 6 in Division 1, led for much of the match. The Bruins (0-1) got three first-quarter goals from Kimbell, and had a 7-5 halftime advantage.

But Newport Harbor used some good offense and standout play by senior goalie Wyatt Muller (nine saves) to rally back. Muller, who has been battling leg tendinitis and didn't play in last week's season opener against Foothill, blocked Kimbell's penalty shot early in the third quarter that would have given Wilson an 8-5 edge.

"Big momentum swing," Lynn said. "Jackson Kimbell comes up to the plate, 240 pounds coming at you, right? And Wyatt just blocked the heck out of it. He had such a good block, and it motivated everyone."

Senior defender Dan Stevens also got going offensively. He fired one into the near corner from the right wing to bring Newport within a goal. Then, after senior center Andrew Silvers drew a five-meter penalty shot, Stevens put it away to knot the score at 7-7 with 2:58 left in the third quarter.

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