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Girls' Water Polo: TOC presents challenge to Back Bay teams

Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor could meet in quarterfinals of two-day tournament on Friday night.

January 10, 2013|By Matt Szabo
(Kevin Chang | Daily…)

It's looking like it may be one of those years, the ones where the Corona del Mar High and Newport Harbor girls' water polo teams meet a handful of times during the season.

Last year they met five times, including in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title match. This year they've already met twice, and the third time appears likely this weekend at the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions.

CdM (8-2) and Newport Harbor (9-3) are both in Group C. Should they both win their tournament openers, they'd meet in a tournament quarterfinal at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Dos Pueblos High.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed at the Tournament of Champions, which is typically the toughest of the three in-season tournaments that the teams play.

Corona del Mar, ranked No. 4 in CIF Southern Section Division 1, opens its tournament against Rosary at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Dos Pueblos. The Sea Kings are led by players like Stanford-bound senior Cassidy Papa and senior lefty Ally McCormick, who is going to BYU for swimming.

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But this also will be the first tournament for CdM's senior transfers from Greece, Stephania and Ioanna Haralabidis. The twins, who have signed with USC, are off to a hot start. Stephania, a lefty, scored five goals in each of CdM's first two Pacific Coast League victories.

Corona del Mar, the defending Santa Barbara TOC champion, is trying for its fourth TOC title. Last year the Sea Kings rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the tournament title match to defeat Newport Harbor, 10-8, behind tournament MVP Diana Murphy (now at Princeton).

Newport Harbor, by contrast, has never won the TOC title. The Sailors have finished in second place in the tournament a remarkable seven times since 2003.

Newport Harbor opens its tournament against Santiago of Corona, on Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Dos Pueblos High. Santiago, last year's CIF Division 2 champion, enters the match ranked No. 5 in Division 2.

The Sailors are led by their three seniors who are also bound for NCAA Division 1 water polo schools, driver Carly Christian (UC Santa Barbara), center Elissia Schilling (UCLA) and defender Avery Peterson (USC).

Holiday Cup champion Foothill, which took over for CdM as the top-ranked team in Division 1, is the top-seeded team in the tournament. Los Alamitos, which didn't play at the Holiday Cup, is the TOC No. 2 seed. The Griffins are ranked No. 5 in Division 1.

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