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Girls' Water Polo: Sailors into semis

Reid scores game-winning goal on power-play, lifting Newport Harbor past Foothill. Santa Barbara is next.

February 22, 2014|By Matt Szabo
(Courtesy of Willie…)

After a hot shooting start, Newport Harbor High junior Ellie Reid hit the wall about halfway through the girls' water polo season.

The left-hander was battling fatigue, sickness and a nagging shoulder injury. She stopped scoring as many goals, not looking as confident with her shot.

"I kind of lost my groove a little bit," Reid said. "I kind of cracked a little bit in midseason."

How did Ellie get her groove back? It took just one shot on Saturday.

She scored the winning six-on-five goal with 2:24 left off a pass from Kate Pipkin, helping Newport Harbor upset Foothill, 5-4, in a CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinal match Saturday at Newport Harbor High.

The fact that the goal helped alleviate another struggle all season for the Sailors — their power play — was just as nice.

"If you look at the statistics, we haven't been doing too well," Reid said. "But we really have been working on it a lot in practice. To put that away felt good."

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The result technically was an upset, as Foothill (23-6) was the No. 2 seed and Newport Harbor (22-7) finished No. 7 after a late-season slide. Yet the Sailors beat the Knights for the third time in four meetings this season.

Newport Harbor, trying to reach the Division 1 title match for the third straight year, will play Santa Barbara in the semifinals for the second straight year Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Irvine's Woollett Aquatics Center. Santa Barbara also earned an upset win Saturday, taking out No. 3-seeded Corona del Mar, 10-9, in sudden-death overtime.

Top-seeded Laguna Beach will play No. 4 Los Alamitos in the second Division 1 semifinal, Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

Seniors Christina O'Beck and Heidi Fults each scored twice for the Sailors, whose effort Saturday was perhaps one of their best of the season. It came after dropping from No. 2 to 7 in the Division 1 poll in the final few weeks.

"I think after having a rough time, coming back and putting everything we have into this game really gave us a confidence boost," Pipkin said. "[It says] hey, we're still in this, we still are a good contender and you shouldn't underestimate us ... We're going against a second-seeded team and we're seventh. It really shows that when we all work together and do the right things at the right times, it has a good result."

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