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Stevens an all-around threat for Sailors

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Senior set guard, who scored winning goal in S&R Cup championship match, is all business in the water.

October 12, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Kevin Chang | Daily…)

Newport Harbor High senior Dan Stevens said he treats every game like it's a CIF final.

With some kids, that might seem like just hyperbole. With Stevens, one really gets the sense that it's true.

"If the game's at 5 [p.m.], and we're there at 3:30 to warm up, I'm starting to stretch at home by 2," Stevens said. "I don't let myself relax or get myself into a lackadaisical mindset. I approach every game with the same intensity."

Watch the boys' water polo set guard in the water and it becomes clear: Stevens means business. The Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week is a huge component for the Sailors, both on defense and offense. He scored the game-winning goal on six-on-five, off a pass from his co-captain Preston Lee, in the Sailors' 9-8 victory over rival Los Alamitos in the S&R Sport Cup championship match last weekend at Woollett Aquatics Center.

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But there are other interesting things about Stevens. He is a reporter for the Newport Harbor school newspaper, The Beacon, and he is intently following the race to the White House.

"I do enjoy following the political race, and just kind of keeping up with Romney and Obama and all that good stuff," Stevens said. "I'm kind of interested in politics. I'm in journalism this year, and I want to see where that takes me. I've decided that journalism will help me force myself to pay attention to government and political issues."

Stevens said he could possibly see himself as a businessman, or maybe even a politician. His agenda is clear for the Sailors — do not allow any goals at two meters.

"My job is to, under any circumstance, not let the center score," he said. "So far this season, except for [Mater Dei High senior] Jon Walters in the South Coast Tournament, no one has. I'm proud of that. But at the same time, Jon scoring, that just makes me want to work harder and not let him score on me in CIF, or that game we have against them Nov. 3."

Walters and the Monarchs won that tournament, scoring three late goals in a 7-4 victory. The USC-bound Walters, Stevens' old friend since they played together at Club Split OC, scored the last goals. The last goal came in transition and, after the game, Newport Harbor Coach Robert Lynn said Stevens should have taken the kickout in that situation.

Part of being a leader is admitting mistakes, and Stevens isn't afraid to do it.

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