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Boys' Water Polo: A Sea Kings stunner

Mavusi scores game-winner as CdM rallies from three-goal deficit in second half, shocking rival Newport Harbor to advance to CIF-SS D1 semifinals.

November 10, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar High head coach Barry O'Dea pumps up the crowd as the Sea Kings lead 7-6 with seconds remaining on the clock during the fourth quarter against Newport Harbor in a CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinal match on Saturday.
Corona del Mar High head coach Barry O'Dea pumps… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

CORONA DEL MAR — Before what could have possibly been the last match of the season, the Corona del Mar High boys' water polo team and coaching staff met.

The Sea Kings are a senior-heavy team, with 13 of them. They talked about their fears, and a big one was that Saturday night's CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoff quarterfinal could be their last game in their home pool.

"They all agreed, 'We're afraid it's going to come to an end,'" CdM Coach Barry O'Dea said. "We talked more about it, and we addressed it. We reminded them in the second half tonight that we've got to overcome this fear. We've got to go after these guys, go after this win. Don't let that happen. The way that you beat a fear is you conquer it."

CdM fell behind Back Bay rival Newport Harbor by three goals early in the second half. Seconds before that, a key starter had fouled out.

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But No. 4-seeded Newport Harbor would not score again.

The Sea Kings not only conquered their fears, they ended their rivals' season.

Armen Mavusi scored the game-winning goal with 4:05 left on a redirect from Colby Watson as the Sea Kings rallied to stun the Sailors, 7-6, and advance to the Division 1 semifinals.

Reid Chase made a steal with 14 seconds left to help preserve the victory, sending CdM (23-6) into the semifinals on Wednesday night. CdM will play top-seeded Mater Dei, the two-time defending champion that beat Harvard-Westlake, 15-6, in another quarterfinal, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Irvine's Woollett Aquatics Center.

Do not count CdM out. The Sea Kings showed Saturday night that they indeed had no fear.

Their chances looked slim in the third Battle of the Bay meeting of the season. They were down, 5-3, at halftime, after Newport Harbor senior Curtis Fink scored on an outside shot at the buzzer. They fell further behind in the third quarter, after senior lefty Jake Wyatt fouled out.

Newport Harbor (21-7) converted the six-on-five, with senior co-captain Preston Lee finding Mitch Mendoza on the right side with 5:11 left in the quarter.

The Sailors would not score again in the final 12-plus minutes. Watson, CdM's emotional leader in the water, had a big second half.

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