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CdM finishes fast, knocks out Newport Harbor
Newport Harbor was supposed to be the faster, fitter team in the fourth period Saturday night, according to one theory on the Battle of the Bay boys water polo rivalry.
Another popular thought kept Corona del Mar out of a No. 3 or No. 4 seed in Division 1 playoff seeding. The Sea Kings' body-of-work was lagging, the argument went.
And the record book pointed out that Corona del Mar hadn't beaten its rival in a playoff match since the Division 1 final of 1987.
Yes, that left Corona del Mar coach Barry O'Dea 0-3 against the Sailors in CIF.
But thanks to a wave of momentum in the fourth period, Corona del Mar shattered theories Saturday.
The host Sea Kings used counterattack goals from Colby Watson and Armen Mavusi in the first three minutes of the fourth and a lockdown defense to stun fourth-seeded Newport Harbor, 7-6, in a Division 1 quarterfinal.
Newport Harbor (21-7) opened a 6-3 lead early in the third but Corona del Mar (23-6) closed the game with a 4-0 run to advance to Wednesday's semifinal against Mater Dei.
In the fourth, Corona del Mar's conditioning led a score-tying counterattack by Watson with 5:34 left and the go-ahead counter by Mavusi with 4:05 left.
Mavusi redirected a cross-pass from Watson to give Corona del Mar its only lead, 7-6.
"We played the game of our lives," said Corona del Mar senior Reid Chase, who scored a game-high four goals. "We're in the best shape of our lives."
Corona del Mar's defense held Newport Harbor scoreless for the final 12:11. Chase also helped clinch the victory with a steal near 2 meters on Newport Harbor's final possession in the closing seconds.
The Sea Kings were especially tough against the power-play. Newport Harbor finished 2 for 8, including an 0 for 3 mark in the fourth period.
Corona del Mar believed it deserved the No. 3 seed after its late-season surge at the Memorial Cup. The Sea Kings instead came in Saturday as the No. 5 seed but showed they belong with the Division 1 elite.
"It seems like we always come together in the end," Chase said. "We had nothing to lose (tonight)."
Newport Harbor coach Robert Lynn credited Corona del Mar but said his team had trouble handling the pressure.
"We got tight and they took advantage," Lynn said. "We beat us today."
O'Dea called timeout after Chase's final steal. The coach raised his arms to Corona del Mar's enthusiastic student cheering section.
"We trained for that (fourth-period counterattack)," O'Dea said. "This one was emotional for me."
Corona del Mar notched the one-goal victory despite missing a penalty shot in the fourth. Newport Harbor goalie Wyatt Muller dove to his left to block a low penalty shot by the hot-shooting Chase to preserve a 6-6 tie.
Corona del Mar finished 3 for 7 on the power play.
Curtis Fink scored three first-half goals, and drew three ejections, to lead the Sailors.
Newport Harbor's Dan Stevens played despite a ruptured eardrum. He didn't score but had three steals.
"I thought he was pretty gutsy," Lynn said of Stevens.
Here's an updated look at the Battle of the Bay history in CIF, which CdM now leads, 5-4:
2012 CdM 7, NH 6 (Quarterfinals)
2009 NH 14, CdM 10 (Semifinal)
2006 NH 8, CdM 7 (Quarterfinal)
2005 NH 13, CdM 12 (Semifinal)
1987 CdM 10, NH 8 (Final)
1984 NH 14, CdM 9 (Final)
1982 CdM 9, NH 8 (Final)
1974 CdM 5, NH 4 (Final)
1969 CdM 9, NH 5 (Final)
In other Division 1 games:
Mater Dei 15, Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood 6: McQuin Baron made 18 saves and Kent Inoue scored five goals to lead the visiting Monarchs (29-0).
Long Beach Wilson 7, Dana Hills 5: The score was tied, 5-5, with three minutes left at San Juan Hills, but the Bruins pulled away despite 20 saves by Dana Hills' Brody Zachary.
Loyola of Los Angeles 12, Los Alamitos 10: Chancellor Ramirez scored four goals and Sean Thomas netted three at Mira Costa. The game marked Coach Dave Carlson's finale with the Los Al boys.