Girls' Water Polo: Sailors top Edison to open league

Schilling, Christian score three goals each as Newport Harbor defeats Edison to open Sunset League play.

January 02, 2013|By Matt Szabo
  • Elissa Schilling of Newport Harbor High, third from left, snaps a backhanded shot against Edison's Risa Burke during a Sunset League game at Newport Harbor High School on Wednesday.
Elissa Schilling of Newport Harbor High, third from left,… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

NEWPORT BEACH — The Newport Harbor High girls' water polo team went into its Sunset League opener against Edison on Wednesday night as a big favorite.

The Sailors are ranked No. 3 in CIF Southern Section Division 1 and the Chargers are No. 8. But Edison Coach Diggy Riley, a Newport Harbor alumnus, found a bit of inspiration before the matchup.

He said earlier Wednesday he watched video of the Chargers' victory over Newport Harbor in the third-place match of the 2010 Irvine Southern California Championships. That match remains the only time Edison has ever topped Newport Harbor in girls water polo.

"It was a great video," Riley said. "I just happened to be flipping through and I found that, and it said, 'First-ever win over Newport.' I'm like, 'Whoa, I gotta watch this!' "

Riley no longer has then-senior Danielle Warde, who now stars at UC Irvine. The Sailors were the stronger team Wednesday.


Senior co-captains Elissia Schilling and Carly Christian had three goals each as Newport Harbor prevailed, 11-5, in the league opener at Newport Harbor High.

Newport Harbor (7-3), which has won five of six Sunset League titles since joining the league in 2006-07, made sure to jump ahead early. The Sailors scored on their first three possessions.

First it was sophomore Rachel Whitelegge converting a six-on-five situation, then senior defender Avery Peterson on a rebound goal. Whitelegge then found Christian on an outside shot from about five meters, and the Sailors had a 3-1 advantage after the first quarter.

"We couldn't underestimate them," said Peterson, who had two goals, a team-high three steals and two field blocks. "Coach [Bill Barnett] was telling us that if we gave them one or two goals in the beginning, that they were going to have a lot more confidence. We needed to go out really strong and just put them down in the very beginning."

Edison (6-10) pulled within 3-2 early in the second, when Harvard-bound senior lefty Melissa Balding scored from two meters. But Christian scored twice in a four-goal run that gave Newport Harbor a 7-2 halftime advantage.

"We really wanted to make sure we were countering out of the backcourt harder," Peterson said. "We wanted to press harder and force them to shoot bad shots, so we could counter. A lot of girls did really well on the counter. That's something we've been working really hard on in practice."

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