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Fink a big threat for Newport Harbor

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Senior, who leads Sailors in several statistical categories, came up big in Battle of the Bay.

October 26, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Newport Harbor High senior water polo player Curtis Fink is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Newport Harbor High senior water polo player Curtis Fink… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

Curtis Fink has a certain passion for the sport of water polo.

That might help explain how, at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, he is believed to have drawn the most exclusions this year for the Newport Harbor High boys' water polo team.

And if he is fouled outside of five meters, the senior can certainly put the shot away.

"I think he's one of the better offensive players in CIF," Newport Harbor Coach Robert Lynn said. "He's drawing a lot of exclusions, and he's doing well off the drives. He's got a really good shot, and he's a great kid. He's committed to water polo, loves water polo ... he has a good character for the sport."

Fink, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, showed that character in yet another key game last weekend. He had three goals and two assists in the Sailors' 9-7 victory over Corona del Mar in the Battle of the Bay, at the Sea Kings' pool.

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But the other big statistic, which casual observers might overlook, was that Fink drew five exclusions. That really helped Newport Harbor win the game, as the Sailors converted seven of nine power-play opportunities.

"That's why I love [assistant coach] Pavle [Filipovic] and Robert as coaches," Fink said. "They do allow me a lot of freedom for movement on that 1-2 side. They've been teaching me a couple of tricks here and there, and it allows me do drives or post-ups. We've been working on it in practice together as a team. Definitely me and [Ryan] Warde, me and Preston [Lee] and me and Dan [Stevens] have all been working that side together. When someone else is moving, we know what they're trying to do. It works out well."

Fink often leads the charge. Coming into this weekend's Memorial Cup tournament in San Jose, Fink had team-highs of 42 goals and 34 steals. This is not surprising; last year he was second on the team in scoring to then-senior Farrel South, who was the Newport-Mesa Player of the Year. Fink had 54 goals on his way to first-team All-Sunset League status.

This year he will likely surpass that mark, but the Sailors don't have someone who will overpower offensively like South did. That's OK with Fink, who appears to thrive in the team environment.

"Honestly, we don't care where the goals come from," Fink said. "We just care that we get them, and that we worked together for them. It's not just someone going out there and taking a 10-meter shot. We have purpose, and it's clear what we're working for. It's not just something random; it's something that we worked for together."

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