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Boys' Water Polo: Back Bay rematch possible in CIF quarterfinals

If Sailors, CdM both win Wednesday, they would meet in CIF Division 1 quarterfinals Saturday. Costa Mesa also in playoff mix.

November 05, 2012|By Matt Szabo

The third Battle of the Bay boys' water polo match of the year could go down Saturday.

Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar high schools have to win just one match each to make it happen, the teams learned Sunday when the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoff pairings were released.

The Sunset League champion Sailors are the No. 4 seed. They will play host to Servite, the third-place team from the Trinity League, in the first round at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

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Corona del Mar, the Pacific Coast League champion, is in the No. 5 spot. The Sea Kings will play host to either San Clemente or Long Beach Millikan in the first round, also at 5 p.m. Wednesday. San Clemente and Millikan play in a wild-card match Tuesday.

The other Newport-Mesa team in the playoffs is Costa Mesa. The Mustangs play host to Chaparral of Temecula in a Division 2 wild-card game at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Both Back Bay teams will be favored in the first round, and they would play in the quarterfinals Saturday with victories. They have split two previous meetings this year. Newport took the Battle of the Bay game, 9-7, at CdM on Oct. 20, but the Sea Kings came back for an 11-6 victory in the semifinals of the Finis Memorial Cup a week later in San Jose.

The Sailors hope they have senior defender Dan Stevens available. Stevens ruptured his left eardrum in Saturday's 15-4 nonleague loss to Mater Dei, his father, Doug, said in an email.

The emergency room doctor at Hoag Hospital said the ruptured eardrum should keep Dan Stevens out of the water for four to six weeks, Doug Stevens said. However, he said his son may be able to use a wax plug to keep water out of his ear. The goal is to be back in the water Wednesday for the first CIF game, Doug Stevens said.

Regardless of Dan Stevens' status, the Sailors (20-6) have to regroup from the loss to the Monarchs, who have won a Southern Section-record 75 straight matches.

"We're looking forward to going into CIF," Newport Harbor Coach Robert Lynn said. "There's no secrets. Us and CdM; it's going to be the Battle of the Bay part three. You know, it's going to be a big one. I think our guys look forward to it. Even if you win that one, the next one is going to be even harder. Your present is that you get [two-time defending champion] Mater Dei [in the semifinals].

Senior Curtis Fink leads Newport Harbor with 51 goals, followed by Stevens with 49. But the Sailors also have received key contributions from juniors Mitch Mendoza (35 goals) and Ryan Warde (31).

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