Boys' Water Polo: Mater Dei clamps down against Sea Kings

Monarchs own second half to beat CdM in CIF quarterfinal match.

November 16, 2013|By Matt Szabo

In the first half on Saturday, the Corona del Mar High boys' water polo team did not give an inch.

The underdog Sea Kings were playing inspired defense in their home pool, killing off five-on-six after five-on-six. They also were stepping up offensively, surprising Mater Dei senior goalkeeper McQuin Baron — who Coach Chris Segesman calls the best high school goalie in the nation — with creative plays and sweep shots.

CdM was simply competing. These were two heavyweights going blow for blow.

It wasn't surprising to CdM Coach Barry O'Dea. Coming into the game, he knew what it took to beat the Monarchs, who had a CIF record 105-game winning steak snapped last weekend.


"You've got to play four perfect quarters," O'Dea said, after watching his team play two.

Mater Dei dominated the second half, holding CdM scoreless. The Monarchs were on their way to ending the Sea Kings' season, claiming a 10-4 victory in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinal game.

Top-seeded Mater Dei (28-1), which features eight Newport Beach residents, stayed alive in its quest for its fourth straight Division 1 title. The Monarchs will play Loyola, an 8-7 overtime winner over No. 4 Long Beach Wilson, in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Irvine's Woollett Aquatics Center.

It was not easy. It seems funny to say, but the Sea Kings (17-12) played perhaps their best game of the season in Saturday's loss. Consider that just two weeks ago, they fell behind early and were blitzed by Mater Dei, 15-3, in a nonleague game.

"The boys played awesome and they followed the game plan," O'Dea said. "We said all week that we had to play as close to a perfect game as we could, and for this year, that was the best game we've put together. I'm proud of them. They're super-stoked about how well they played. They're also bummed that they lost, but right there, I think we showed that we're better than the No. 8 seed going into the playoffs. It's unfortunate that we lost that [first] Northwood game early. It put us in a bad spot, but it is what it is. You've got to play them at some point, and I thought we gave them a hell of a game today."

In the earlier nonleague game, the Monarchs thrived on the counterattack, with Baron making long passes that Mater Dei's players put away. In Saturday's game, the Monarchs scored just once on the counterattack.

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