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Water Polo: CdM is golden

Local 18U team captures classic division at Junior Olympics, besting Elite in final behind five goals from Britt.

August 04, 2013|By Matt Szabo
(Matt Szabo | Daily…)

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA — They came, they saw and they conquered.

In the process, members of the CdM Aquatics 18-and-under girls' team won gold medals.

Nobody could stop CdM in the classic division at the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics. CdM finished it off Sunday at Santa Margarita High, topping Elite of Murrieta, 10-6, in the gold-medal game.

The program seems to have shrugged off a disappointing result at Junior Olympics qualifying, which left CdM in the classic division instead of the championship division. But you have to beat the teams that are put in front of you, and CdM accomplished that feat, going 7-0 over the four-day tournament and outscoring its opponents by a combined 86-25.

No game was closer than four goals.

"We've taken some huge steps in the right direction, to put ourselves in a good position for the future," CdM Coach Ross Sinclair said. "This weekend really symbolized that. We're becoming a really disciplined team. I challenged them, saying, 'We've got to win this thing.' We got two good games at the end. Elite is a really quality program, and to grind out that win like that, that's a high-quality game. In my opinion, that's top-20 type of stuff in this whole [tournament], so it was good."

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CdM incoming junior Eliza Britt was on fire in the final, scoring five goals. Senior center Marina Coskinas scored three times, and incoming sophomore Maddie Musselman was her usual versatile self. Musselman had two goals, two assists, five steals and drew two exclusions.

CdM went three for four on its power-play, while holding Elite to one for seven.

"It feels good," Britt said. "Even in the classic, it's nice to win. We improved a lot in the summer … Everybody thinks that this is a lot younger team for CdM, but we're just here to show them what we can do."

CdM, which defeated Riverside, 11-5 , in the classic division semifinals Sunday morning, also got many other contributions. Incoming sophomore goalie Heidi Ritner had a big performance in the championship match, making 14 saves and adding an assist.

Ritner, who stands 5-foot-11, reminds of a certain other tall former CdM goalie who started as a sophomore. Alex Musselman, the 2011 Newport-Mesa Player of the Year who now will be a sophomore at UCLA, watched Sunday's gold-medal match as well.

"[Ritner] just trains so hard, and it pays off," Sinclair said. "She's our rock … it's a bright future with her as our goalie."

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