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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Mater Dei and goalie McQuin Baron, middle, finished off a perfect regular season with a 15-4 victory against visiting Newport Harbor on Saturday night.

No stopping top-ranked Mater Dei

OCVARSITY.COM

SANTA ANA - It was easy to draw a comparison Saturday night between Mater Dei’s boys water polo team and the lyrics to The Offspring song that blared before their regular-season finale against visiting Newport Harbor.

You cannot stop us … You’ll never break us.

The top-ranked Monarchs backed up those words once again, sprinting past the No. 4 Sailors, 15-4, in an intense match on the eve of the playoff draw.

Mater Dei improved to 27-0 and extended its winning streak to a Southern Section record 75 matches.

The two-time defending Division 1 champion will certainly be the No. 1 seed when the Division 1 playoff brackets surface Sunday morning.

“It’s a good tuneup as we head to the playoffs,” Mater Dei coach Chris Segesman said. "We just have to make sure that we stay focused (in the playoffs)."

Mater Dei attacker Kent Inoue scorched Newport Harbor (20-6) for seven goals, including five in the first period.

The junior made another defense pay for leaving him in open water as it focused on Jon Walters at center.

With Newport Harbor sagging off him, Inoue “walked in” to the 4- or 5-meter range on three of his goals in the opening period.

Walters found his scoring rhythm in the middle periods, scoring five goals. Four came from 2 meters.

And goalie McQuin Baron racked up nine saves, including a penalty shot in the second. Mater Dei’s power-play also was sharp, going 4 for 6.

“Mater Dei is a very efficient team,” Newport Harbor coach Robert Lynn said. “You’ve got to out-work these guys.”

Newport Harbor finished 0 for 7 with the extra attacker and also missed two 5-meter penalty shots.

Lynn believes the Sailors will be seeded fourth or fifth in the Division 1 playoffs, with Corona del Mar as its potential quarterfinal foe.

"It's either us fourth and them (Corona de Mar) fifth or vice versa, and we'll play it out," Lynn said.

Lynn believes Long Beach Wilson and Loyola of Los Angeles will be in the second and third positions. Wilson beat Loyola, 9-7, on Friday.

"Wilson beat Loyola ... so they have to go either two or three now," Lynn said.

Corona del Mar coach Barry O'Dea said earlier this week that the Sea Kings earned the No. 3 seed after beating Newport Harbor and Long Beach Wilson en route to the title at the recent Memorial Cup in San Jose.

"I think (a team's) body of work is a big factor," said Segesman, part of the Southern Section coaches advisory committee.

Newport Harbor left the pool Saturday with a question mark surrounding arguably its best player, Dan Stevens. The senior said he suffered an ear injury while playing defense in the middle of the second period. Stevens left the match - which Mater Dei led, 6-2, at the time - but returned in the third. The defender said he might have his ear examined Saturday night.

“I’ll be fine,” Stevens said. “I want to play.”

“I don’t know what happened to Dan,” Segesman said. “Jon got a shot off. It was a loose ball. They both went for the ball, and Stevens came up. I have no idea what happened. ... I love Dan. I coached him in ODP (Olympic Development Program) for several years. ... I hope nothing is wrong with him."

Lynn said Stevens couldn't hear in one ear.

"He's going to the hospital," Lynn said of Stevens. "I think he's going to be OK."

(Update: Stevens suffered a ruptured ear drum and is questionable remainder of the season.)


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