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Boys' Water Polo: Tars take Cup

Newport Harbor takes down Los Alamitos, 9-8, to win S&R Sport Cup for second straight year.

October 06, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Newport Harbor High's Preston Lee, right, gets a piece of Sacred Heart's Michael Holloway's shot attempt during the first half in a S&R Sport Cup semifinal.
Newport Harbor High's Preston Lee, right, gets… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

IRVINE — The six-on-five was crisp out of the timeout for the Newport Harbor High boys' water polo team.

Mitch Mendoza passed it to Preston Lee, who found Dan Stevens for a strong shot and goal.

"It was Preston to the post, and slam dunk," Newport Harbor Coach Robert Lynn said.

The whole weekend could be considered a slam dunk for the Sailors.

Stevens' power play goal with 1 minute, 36 seconds left held up, enabling Newport Harbor to escape with a 9-8 victory over league rival Los Alamitos in the title match of the S&R Sport Cup on Saturday night at Woollett Aquatics Center.

Senior Curtis Fink made a key steal on the Griffins' final possession as well, helping the Sailors (13-2) win the tournament for the second straight year. They also earned their second victory over the Griffins in four days; the first was an 8-7 victory in the Sunset League opener on Wednesday.

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"Los Al is really well-coached and really disciplined," said Lee, a senior team captain who had a goal and three assists in the final. "We just came out and tried to stick to the game plan that Robert talked about. It's super-rewarding to beat a team like that twice in a week ... We've just clicked. Everyone is playing really well together and knows what everyone else is doing."

The Sailors won the game on six-on-five, where they converted seven of 12 opportunities. They held Los Alamitos to one of five conversions.

"Just like last time, it was a battle," said Stevens, another team captain who scored three goals and had two field blocks. "Six-on-five is usually the difference in big games like this."

Lynn has talked about this being a mentally challenging week. The Sailors played Los Alamitos twice, plus Loyola and Northern California powerhouse Sacred Heart Prep, which Newport Harbor beat, 11-9, in a tournament semifinal earlier Saturday.

The Sailors certainly finished strong.

"I think it's a testament to the coaches and all the training we've been doing," Lee said. "We played six games this week; this was our sixth game. I think it shows how mentally tough everybody is, and how willing they are to work for each other."

Junior Ryan Warde also had three goals for Newport Harbor in the final. Senior center Andrew Silvers had a goal, three steals and drew three exclusions. Fink drew five exclusions and had a pair of steals, and senior goalie Wyatt Muller made six saves.

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