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Newport Harbor wins this round with CdM
GOLETA – Newport Harbor goalie Cleo Harrington stuffed a shot in the final seconds. One of her teammates grabbed the rebound, and Elissia Schilling swam to Christina O'Beck and rubbed the top of the unheralded junior's No. 2 cap.
Those were the final images of the second-ranked Sailors' victory against No. 3 Corona del Mar, 7-6, in the quarterfinals of the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions on Friday night.
On a chilly night at Dos Pueblos of Goleta, Coach Bill Barnett's team used a well-rounded and united effort to sink a Corona del Mar team featuring standout Greek transfers Stephania and Ioanna Haralabidis, both of whom signed with USC.
Five players scored for Newport Harbor, which plays Santa Margarita in today's 12:15 p.m. semifinal at Santa Barbara High.
Barnett last month declared Corona del Mar the CIF-SS Division 1 favorite, adding, "especially with the Greeks."
But on Friday, O'Beck snapped a 6-6 tie with a power-play strike from the perimeter with 2:15 left. A steal at center by Schilling with 54 seconds left and Harrington's 14th save in the final seconds gave Newport Harbor (11-3) the victory.
Corona del Mar (9-3) was playing its first high-profile match with the sisters, who didn't become eligible until Jan. 1.
"We're unbelievably excited," O'Beck said. "We've wanted to beat this team with the Greeks. We're so happy because there's just been all this hype with the Greeks, (that) they're unstoppable. But I guess not anymore."
O'Beck again played her role of tormenting Corona del Mar. A junior varsity player last season, she now has seven goals in three matches against Corona del Mar.
"She is really stepping up," Harrington said of O'Beck. "She wasn't as confident in the beginning and she has gained so much confidence and it really shows. She's got a great outside shot."
Harrington raised her game in the second half, making nine saves. After Stephania blazed a skip shot past her in the second period from 8 meters, Harrington returned the favor by stopping Stephania on a counterattack in the third to highlight her effort.
"She's amazing," Harrington said of Stephania, who helped Greece claim the recent FINA world youth title.
Corona del Mar had it chances in the fourth but went 0 for 3 with the extra attacker to finish 1 for 5 on the power play. The Sea Kings also finished with 23 missed shots overall.
"I feel any time we were in the water, I think we had six individuals," Corona del Mar coach Sam Bailey said. "That was the major difference."
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