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Water Polo: CMAC attack leads to gold in Junior Olympics

Local 12-and-under boys earn top prize at Junior Olympics, outlasting top-seeded Alliance to win title.

July 30, 2013|By Matt Szabo
  • Costa Mesa Aquatics Club's Caedmon Fisher, right, scores a goal against Los Angeles Water Polo Club's Thomas Beres, left, during a USA Junior Olympics semifinal match at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana on Tuesday.
Costa Mesa Aquatics Club's Caedmon Fisher, right,… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

SANTA ANA — It took nine players, seven games and 112 goals for Costa Mesa Aquatics Club to prove itself on a national stage.

Oh yeah, and one gold-medal effort.

The program is making its first appearance at the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics. On Tuesday afternoon at Mater Dei High, the Costa Mesa 12-and-under "Black" team showed it had the heart of a champion.

CMAC won the classic division at the world's largest water polo tournament, defeating top-seeded Alliance Aquatics of Capistrano Valley, 9-7, in the championship match.

Caedmon Fisher, who scored four goals and drew four exclusions in the title match, was an obvious standout for Costa Mesa. He also scored 10 goals in an 18-3 victory over L.A. Water Polo in the semifinal match earlier Tuesday.

But Costa Mesa had plenty of kids step up to beat Alliance, the team which had topped CMAC in a fourth-quarter buzzer beater at Junior Olympics qualifying.

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Dustin and Cody Serrano, Costa Mesa High alumni and twins who played water polo for the Mustangs, coached CMAC to victory. They said a team effort was definitely key.

"We're one team," Dustin Serrano said. "There may be one guy scoring a lot of our goals, but our team's feeding him for it. Our goalie, Kevin [Johnson], stepped his game up too. That kid is going to be known in high school. Kevin's going to be an amazing player when he gets older; all of these kids [are]. My job is to make sure all of them go to college. I want to make sure every one of them plays in college. That's me and Cody's No. 1 goal, have them be college-prepared."

Johnson brought it in the title match, recording 11 saves, two steals and an assist. Teak Zachary had two goals, five steals and a pair of assists for Costa Mesa, and Augie Cunningham also scored twice.

Jose Albarran Quero, who had four steals in the title match, said winning the gold medal "felt legit."

Johnson said the victory was "amazing."

"It's better than anything that we've had yet in water polo," Johnson said, adding that being the first team in program history to win gold meant "bragging rights."

The loss to Alliance at JO qualifying left CMAC with a bad taste in its mouth. It also left the local 12-year-olds not playing in the highest division, the championship division, at the Junior Olympics.

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