Water Polo: Newport, CdM go platinum

Local 18U squads each win twice, will meet on day two at Junior Olympics.

July 27, 2013|By Matt Szabo

NEWPORT BEACH — The USA Water Polo Junior Olympics is billed as the largest water polo tournament in the country. Teams from across the nation have descended on Orange County for the eight-day tournament.

But travel fatigue will not be an excuse if Newport Beach Water Polo Inc. does not do well in the boys' 18-and-under championship division. Many of the players on the team are playing in their home pool of Newport Harbor High this weekend.

"I'm glad I don't have to stay in a hotel," said Newport Beach player Mitchell Mendoza, an incoming senior at Newport Harbor. "We can go home and rest."


Mendoza earned the rest Saturday, on the Junior Olympics' opening day. The lefty scored three goals to help No. 14-seeded Newport Beach upset No. 11 American River, 9-5, and win Pool "K."

Newport Beach, which also defeated LWP Gold, 11-5, in its opening match, advances to the platinum division (top 24) of the 48-team field. A rival awaits there in Newport's three-team pool.

Newport Beach first will play sixth-seeded LA Premier in its opening platinum division game at 8 a.m. Sunday at Newport Harbor High. Then, Newport Beach will face third-seeded CdM Aquatics Grey at 11 a.m.

CdM Grey, which features eight CdM players and Newport Harbor grad Dan Stevens, easily won its opening pool as well. CdM Grey beat Thunder Black, 20-3, and West Valley Red, 13-5.

Newport Beach Coach Robert Lynn, who is also the Newport Harbor High boys' coach, said it should be an interesting match. It usually is when his teams play CdM. This particular team that Lynn is coaching has a mixture of Newport Harbor players and players from Long Beach Wilson.

Recent Newport Harbor graduate Wyatt Muller is the team's starting goalie, and fellow recent graduates Curtis Fink and Blake Grove are also on the squad. There are also two varsity returners from Newport Harbor High, Mendoza and K.J. Kelley. It could have been three, but Ryan Warde, a second-team All-Sunset League performer last year for the Sailors, has transferred to Edison, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

The talent from Long Beach also is immense, starting with Stanford-bound Jackson Kimbell, who is on the U.S. junior national team. Fellow recent Wilson graduate Max Irving (UCLA), incoming seniors Murphy Slater and Jake Ctvrtlik and incoming junior Zach D'Sa also are on the Newport Beach squad. They helped Wilson reach the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title match last fall.

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