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Girls' Water Polo: Sea Kings rally into semis

CdM again overcomes deficit against Los Alamitos, stamping its ticket to CIF Division 1 semifinals.

February 16, 2013|By Matt Szabo
(Martin Klein )

CORONA DEL MAR — As she walked off the pool deck at Corona del Mar High on Saturday, freshman Maddie Musselman went past Los Alamitos Coach Dave Carlson.

The Sea Kings had just beaten Carlson's Griffins, 7-5, in a CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinal match. The longtime Los Al coach wanted to pay Musselman a compliment.

"Are you the freshman?" Carlson asked Musselman, who replied, "Yeah," a bit sheepishly.

"You play like a senior," Carlson said.

Musselman stepped up with two goals for CdM. Senior Stephania Haralabidis also scored twice and had two nice assists in the fourth quarter, to senior Genevieve Weed and junior Marina Coskinas.

It was a mature effort overall from the Sea Kings (25-4), who rallied to advance to the CIF semifinals for the 14th straight year. No. 3-seeded CdM plays No. 2 Foothill in a semifinal match Wednesday night at Woollett Aquatics Center. Top-seeded Santa Barbara plays No. 4 Newport Harbor in the other semifinal.

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Carlson said he thinks that any of the teams left can win the CIF title. Do not count out the Sea Kings, who defeated Los Alamitos (22-7) for the third time this year.

It wasn't easy. Los Al took a 2-0 lead late in the second quarter, on goals from Cal-bound senior Stephanie Mutafyan and junior Becca Corb. CdM responded with strikes from senior Ally McCormick and Musselman to tie the score.

CdM Coach Sam Bailey kept yelling, "Patience!," just before Musselman took her quick shot on a lob from the left. It worked out. CdM assistant coach Erika Figge, grinning while sitting next to Bailey, just patted him on the back.

Mutafyan added a goal from set with nine seconds left in the half to give the Griffins a 3-2 halftime advantage. Carlson said Mutafyan broke her left pinky finger in the first half, but she didn't tell him until after the game.

Los Al goalie Nikki Quinn had a strong first half, making seven of her 10 saves. But CdM did show patience and also clamped down defensively. The Sea Kings scored the only two goals of the third quarter, both from Haralabidis on assists from Weed and senior Cassidy Papa, to grab a 4-3 lead.

Carlson had seen it before, when CdM rallied to top Los Alamitos, 10-8, in an Irvine Southern California Championships quarterfinal.

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