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CdM storms past Newport Harbor
NEWPORT BEACH – The Battle of the Bay has turned out many stars in girls water polo.
Friday night’s edition took on special meaning. Corona del Mar legend and current UCLA freshman Maddie Musselman sat in the stands with the women’s national team observing the matchup.
The stage was set for new stars to emerge, and the crosstown rivalry did not disappoint. The fourth-ranked Sea Kings defeated No. 8 Newport Harbor, 9-8, at Corona del Mar High.
Bridgett Storm scored four goals, including the game-winner with 3:01 remaining. The Sea Queens’ center was simply unstoppable down low, earning six exclusions against the Sailors (1-3).
CdM (1-0) converted on four of their seven chances in 6-on-5 situations. Storm scored twice from the top of the umbrella formation. Emily Ritner and Jaleh Moaddeli accounted for the other power-play markers.
“I was just so excited to have Maddie Musselman there watching,” Storm said. “She was with us last year. Now, she’s at such a high level.”
A humorous encounter occurred after the game.
“We still can’t live up to (Musselman’s) expectations,” Storm said, laughing. “After the game, she came up to me and said, ‘Girl, you have to shoot more.’”
Newport had won all three games against CdM last year.
“The girls were really excited because last year, they were on the other side of that,” CdM coach Kevin Ricks said. “It was an opportunity for redemption to kind of reignite that torch.”
The Sea Queens won all four sprints at the start of quarters, twice turning the opening possession into a goal. In the third, it helped CdM jump out to a 6-3 lead.
The Sailors had been tied at 5 entering the third quarter before losing, 10-6, in their last game against No. 3 Foothill. Newport Harbor showed that it had learned a quick lesson, changing the moment in the final frame.
Kaela Whelan and Sammie Garcia scored goals 41 seconds apart, as the Sailors tied it at 8 with 4:37 left.
Storm’s 6-on-5 goal with three minutes left made it 9-8.
In the final seconds, the Sea Kings called upon goalkeeper Heidi Ritner (11 saves) to come up big. Garcia went underwater on a set play. She popped up free, 6 meters away from the goal, but her shot was blocked by Ritner to close it out.