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Girls' Water Polo: Newport, CdM to clash in TOC semis

Pipkin scores game-winner as Sailors rally over Dons in quarterfinals, while CdM clamps down on Mater Dei.

January 17, 2014|By Matt Szabo

SANTA BARBARA — The pool deck at Santa Barbara High is fairly cramped, so it's pretty easy to see the different girls' water polo teams playing or getting warmed up.

Colors also can provide a cue, especially when it's Back Bay rivals Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar facing off.

"There's kind of that tension when you walk on the same pool deck," Sailors junior Kate Pipkin said. "You see the lighter blue, you see the white, you see the pink. You're kind of like, 'Oh, they're here.' We have nothing against them; they're just our rivals. It's not just a game when you play CdM."

The navy blue and white-clad Sailors almost didn't make it to playing CdM at the prestigious Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions. Pipkin was a big reason why the Sailors moved on Friday night.

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She scored the game-winning goal from the outside with 10 seconds left, lifting Newport Harbor to a 10-9 victory over host Santa Barbara in the TOC quarterfinals at Santa Barbara High.

"The girl wasn't on me, so I just picked it up and shot it," said Pipkin, who drilled the ball into the lower left corner.

Third-seeded Newport Harbor (12-2) will indeed face second-seeded CdM (10-2) in the second TOC semifinal at 12:15 p.m. Saturday, at Santa Barbara. It's the rivals' second meeting of the season; CdM

beat Newport, 7-5, in the Battle of the Bay on Dec. 20.

Corona del Mar got past Mater Dei, 6-2, on Friday night in its TOC quarterfinal match at Dos Pueblos High. In the first TOC semifinal, top-seeded Laguna Beach will face upstart San Clemente at 11:10 a.m. The

championship match is scheduled for 4:35 p.m. San Clemente upset Foothill in a first-round game before getting past Agoura, 10-9, in overtime.

The Sailors trailed for most of their quarterfinal game against the Dons, in the rematch of last year's CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinals won by Newport Harbor. The Sailors tied the score on six

separate occasions, but did not take their first lead of the game until Pipkin's final shot.

Santa Barbara took an 8-7 lead into the fourth quarter and was successful on its counterattack. Betsy Hendrix and Kristina Garcia led the hosts with three goals each.

"I think it was mostly our passing," said Newport senior goalie Cleo Harrington, who had five saves in the first half, including one on a penalty shot. "We were getting flustered on the outside, and trying to move it around too quickly without waiting for a girl to release to the ball."

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