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Girls' Water Polo Dream Team: CdM's marvelous Maddie

CdM sophomore, who grew individually and helped team stay elite, earns Newport-Mesa Player of the Year.

April 17, 2014|By Matt Szabo
(SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Corona del Mar High sophomore Maddie Musselman can't help but notice all of the Olympians helping out with the CdM water polo program.

Olympians Kelly Rulon and CdM alumna Tumua Anae are coaching on the CdM Grey girls' club team for CdM Aquatics. Four-time Olympian Ryan Bailey has been helping out with the CdM boys' program for the last several years.

"I just think that's so cool," Musselman said.

Some people say that Musselman is a future Olympian too. It's not a stretch at all, considering that she made her debut with the U.S. senior national team last December at the Canada Cup and has been participating in national team scrimmages with Coach Adam Krikorian since the high school water polo season ended.

Musselman is already pushing 6-foot tall as a sophomore. Her growth in the sport is just as impressive. And she does not shy away from the Olympian talk, saying she'd love a chance to compete at that level.

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"It just motivates me to keep working," she said. "I would love to go to the Olympics, but I'm just going to keep striving for that. It motivates me when I hear that to not give up, just to keep trying for my goals. When I was at Newport Hills swim team, I wanted to go to the Olympics for swimming. Ever since I got into water polo, I was like, 'This is a cool sport to go and experience that.'"

As for high school, Musselman already is one of the top field players in CIF. She proved it this year for the Sea Kings, taking charge for a young team that graduated all but one starter — and lost its coach — from the 2012-13 CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship team.

Along the way Musselman flipped the switch, turning into a dominant offensive player. For her efforts, she is the 2013-14 Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Player of the Year.

The utility player showed her versatility, leading CdM with 81 goals, 48 steals and 18 field blocks. She was second on the team with 34 assists. She helped the Sea Kings score an upset Battle of the Bay win over Newport Harbor and remain consistent, taking third place in each of the regular-season tournaments.

"We did such a great job," Musselman said. "The word 'underdog' has motivated us, just to bring out our secret weapons in the games. We always think, 'We can show everyone else that we are a great team.' We're just going to keep building and building."

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