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Girls' Water Polo: CdM's strong finish leads to Battle of the Bay triumph

Another Musselman shines for Sea Kings, who own fourth quarter to win rivalry match for second straight year.

December 21, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Don Leach | Daily…)

CORONA DEL MAR — Appropriately enough for a game four days before Christmas, the past, present and future of Corona del Mar High girls' water polo all came together Friday.

These weren't ghosts like in Charles Dickens' novel. There was no Tiny Tim, just two tall Musselman sisters.

CdM graduate Alex Musselman, now a goalie at UCLA, could represent the past as she sat in the stands. The great thing for the Sea Kings is that her younger sister, freshman Maddie, looks to have a huge role in both the present and future for the Sea Kings.

Maddie Musselman had a goal, two assists and a match-high five steals as the Sea Kings pulled away for an 8-6 win over rival Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay.

Last year, it was Alex who provided a spectacular ending in this game, scoring the game-winning goal from full-tank at the buzzer. This year, it was Maddie who stepped up in all facets.

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"It was super-fun," said Maddie Musselman, who also drew a five-meter penalty shot and had a field block. Through the Sea Kings' first three games, she has a team-high 14 steals.

"I really like playing with my team a lot," she said. "The Battle of the Bay last year with my sister really encouraged me to win the game a lot, do the same thing I guess."

It was still a balanced effort for the Sea Kings (3-0), the top-ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division 1. They pulled away after Newport Harbor junior Christina O'Beck tied the score at 4-4 late in the third quarter.

Musselman's defense made a difference. She stole the ball at mid-pool and fed senior co-captain Cassidy Papa, who put it away in transition to give CdM a 5-4 lead with 21 seconds left in the quarter.

"There's athletes at every level who have athleticism and talent, and there's athletes at every level who are just students of the game," CdM Coach Sam Bailey said. "With either one of those, you can definitely excel, and Maddie's one of the athletes who has both. I think the icing on the cake, and maybe the most important part of it all, is her attitude. She's always smiling, always happy, always encouraging her teammates. It's awesome."

The Stanford-bound Papa, making her season debut after competing in the FINA World Youth Championships in Australia earlier this month, led all players with three goals and two field blocks. One of the goals was on the penalty shot that Musselman drew.

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