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Boys' Water Polo: Monarchs again rule South Coast

Mater Dei tops Newport Harbor in tournament final, despite six goals and a 'brilliant' lob from Cupido. CdM is fourth.

September 28, 2013|By Matt Szabo

How do you say "flair for the dramatic" in Italian?

Don't ask Newport Harbor High senior Luca Cupido to translate. He showed everyone at the Sailors' pool late Saturday afternoon exactly what it means with his play.

Sure, Mater Dei High beat Newport Harbor, 16-10, to capture the South Coast Tournament title for the fourth straight year. It's also the third straight year that the Monarchs (11-0) have topped the Sailors (9-3) in the finals of this tournament.

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But Cupido, the transfer from Italy, easily provided the moment of the match as he lined up to take a penalty shot late in the third quarter against Mater Dei's 6-foot-9 goalie, McQuin Baron. Before he took it, he said he heard from a couple of the Monarchs' players.

He quieted them with the shot, a spectacular lob into the right corner over the charging Baron. Who lobs on a penalty shot? Luca Cupido does. And he celebrated emphatically after the goal, raising his arms to the crowd before engaging in some more words with Mater Dei junior Matt Payne. The referee then issued Cupido a minor misconduct penalty.

"They were going, 'Oh, you're the Italian,' joking about me," said Cupido, who scored six goals in the final, after the match. "I wanted to shut up everybody. I said, 'OK, I'll show you. You challenge me, I'll show you.' The goalie could never arrive there [to save] that lob.

"[The celebration] was for the guys who were telling me I'm Italian. They were trying to intimidate me, but it wasn't good for them. If they try to intimidate me, I don't care. For me, it's better. I'll play even harder."

If the Sailors and Monarchs play again this year, it won't be until CIF. They're not playing a nonleague game this year, a move that Newport Harbor Coach Robert Lynn said he initiated. Mater Dei doesn't play in the Sailors' final regular-season tournament of the year, the S&R Sport Cup.

Mater Dei Coach Chris Segesman, whose program has now won a daunting 90 straight games, said he did not have any one person assigned to play defense on the dynamic Cupido in Saturday's final. He said he wasn't changing his team's game plan just for one player.

Still, he fully recognized the excellence of that player. Segesman, a 2004 Olympian, said Cupido's lob penalty-shot goal was a "brilliant idea," but was less thrilled about the celebration.

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