Sherburne playing with a purpose for CdM

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Senior two-meter had big game to help Sea Kings capture share of Pacific Coast League title.

November 15, 2013|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar High boys' water polo player Matt Sherburne is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Corona del Mar High boys' water polo player Matt… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Matt Sherburne grew up playing basketball and baseball, but his father Rick always wanted him to try water polo.

Rick was certainly successful in the water. He played water polo for Sunny Hills High and UCLA in the 1970s. While in Westwood, he was part of the Bruins' 1979 national finalist team, and he earned all-NCAA Tournament honors.

Matt was fine with trying out water polo. He got his feet wet, so to speak, in the seventh grade with longtime Coach Ted Bandaruk.

Matt grew to love water polo. Plus, he was a realist.

"I kind of realized when I was young that I wasn't going to go very far playing basketball," he said. "I wasn't going to be very tall, you know what I mean? I'm a white kid from Newport Beach. I probably wouldn't get very far."

Matt Sherburne still gets to play center, just in water polo, not hoops. He has grown to an even 6-feet tall.


More importantly to the Corona del Mar High boys' water polo team, Sherburne has grown into a team captain and leader. The Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week will need to play big Saturday, as CdM plays host to top-seeded Mater Dei in a CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinal match at 1 p.m.

Sherburne scored twice in Wednesday's 15-10 first-round win over Huntington Beach. Last week, he also certainly stepped up in a big situation.

A lot was at stake. The Sea Kings were on the verge of losing at Northwood, and on the verge of not winning the Pacific Coast League for the first time in 15 years.

Sherburne had something to say about it. He scored a game-high five goals as CdM won, 9-8, sharing the league title with the Timberwolves.

He also battled through adversity in the game. Sherburne was excluded twice in the first quarter. In the second half, he hit the crossbar several times, and had a five-meter penalty shot blocked by Northwood goalie Tim Shaw.

Yet CdM Coach Barry O'Dea kept Sherburne in the offensive end. And Sherburne kept shooting. After Northwood built a 6-4 lead in the third quarter, he beat a double team to score on a sweep shot. Sherburne then scored on a counterattack, tying the score at 6-6.

"It's fun," Sherburne said. "I know I'm going to get the ball usually, and I'm playing one-on-one. I usually have confidence that when I get the ball, it's a pretty easy goal. I know I didn't really show that in the last game — I hit a lot of bars — but I like getting set. It's fun."

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