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Girls' Water Polo: CdM shocks Sailors

Sea Kings clamp down on defense, earn third straight Battle of the Bay victory.

December 20, 2013|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar High's Maddie Musselman shoots against Newport Harbor in the Battle of the Bay match on Friday.
Corona del Mar High's Maddie Musselman shoots against… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

When does one stop using adjectives like "young" and "inexperienced" to describe a team?

That time already may have passed for the Corona del Mar High girls' water polo team.

Other CIF Southern Section Division 1 squads better start using words like "contender."

CdM returns just two regular contributors from last year's Division 1 championship team, senior center Marina Coskinas and sophomore utility Maddie Musselman. But the Sea Kings showed their depth to earn a 7-5 victory over rival Newport Harbor on Friday night at CdM in the Battle of the Bay game.

It's the third straight win in the rivalry series by CdM (2-0), ranked No. 5 in Division 1. But this year's victory over the Sailors (3-1), No. 2 in Division 1, was perhaps the most surprising, to everyone except for the Sea Kings and their fans.

First-year CdM Coach Ross Sinclair said Friday's win was just another game. It's a funny thing to say considering Sinclair, who graduated from Newport Harbor in 2003, was coaching against his alma mater. But the really funny thing is, Sinclair and the Sea Kings really seemed to believe it.

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Sure, they celebrated and took team pictures after the victory. But they didn't overreact to the victory like a young team might. To CdM, it could be seen as part of a process, which has including an 18-and-under classic division title at last summer's Junior Olympics and a tournament victory at the Foothill Fall Fling in late October.

"For us, it's the process," Sinclair confirmed. "I was really excited that we got to prepare and see what type of players our girls are. I think they're embracing the concept I'm trying to create, becoming students of the game and [having a high] water polo IQ … The team that has the [CIF] ring on their finger at the end of the season, I don't think they look back on Battle of the Bay too much, whether they win or lose that one. For the moment, we're happy, we're going to enjoy it. Then back to the drawing board."

Sinclair has two other Newport Harbor graduates on his coaching staff, Leah Robertson and Kimmy Morrison. And CdM used a Newport Harbor staple, a strong press defense, to wreak havoc on the Sailors in the first half Friday night.

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