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Girls' Water Polo: CdM hangs on for victory

Sea Kings see six-goal halftime lead nearly vanish, but new players help them top Dos Pueblos in season opener.

December 07, 2012|By Matt Szabo

GOLETA — The Corona del Mar High girls' water polo team has lots of new pieces this year, more than one might expect from a team that is top-ranked in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 coaches' poll.

But playing far away from home without three of their best players, the Sea Kings showed Friday night that they probably deserve that spot.

Senior Ally McCormick and sophomore Eliza Britt each scored three goals as CdM hung on to beat No. 7-ranked Dos Pueblos, 11-10, in the season opener for both teams.

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Britt is one of the new pieces this year for CdM. She was pushed into a starting spot as the Sea Kings are without Stanford-bound senior Cassidy Papa and USC-bound seniors Stephania and Ioanna Haralabidis. Papa and the Greek twins are concluding play this weekend at the FINA Youth World Championships in Australia.

CdM Coach Sam Bailey could go right down the list after Friday's win. The only three players in the water with significant varsity experience were McCormick, senior defender Genevieve Weed and senior attacker Morgan Stewart. This was the first big game for players like juniors Bobbi Hoose and Annie Mortimer, sophomores Grace Morgan and Britt, freshman Maddie Musselman and senior goalie Erica Weed.

"There's a lot of responsibility," Britt said. "A lot of opportunities to step up."

She did so at the start of the match, burying shots from the outside on CdM's first two possessions. It was part of a strong start as the Sea Kings grabbed a 9-3 halftime advantage.

In the fourth quarter, Dos Pueblos nearly came all the way back. It was déjà vu for the Sea Kings, who had to survive a similar rally to dethrone the Chargers, 9-6, in overtime, last year on the road in the Division 1 quarterfinals.

Jamie Neushul again helped lead the charge Friday. The Stanford-bound senior scored a game-high six goals for Dos Pueblos.

"I think we got a little complacent," McCormick said. "We came out really strong, and once we got that lead we stopped driving and moving in general."

McCormick's goal from up top gave CdM an 11-7 lead with 3:31 left in the game. Dos Pueblos again did not stop.

Neushul scored on a penalty shot, before junior Shannon Cleary scored with 1:25 left to cut the deficit to two. Then Dos Pueblos goalie Britten Vilander fed Neushul on a long pass after making a save. Neushul spun around the defender and scored with a minute left.

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