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KENT TREPTOW, FOR THE REGISTER
Newport Harbor goalie Cleo Harrington rises to block a point-blank shot during Friday's water polo game against Laguna Beach at Laguna Beach High.
See more photos from this game in the OCVarsity Hot Shots 2 slideshow.

Newport Harbor stifles Laguna Beach

OCVARSITY.COM

Newport Harbor girls water polo coach Bill Barnett uses video as a teaching tool for his players. But if he wanted to make a defensive highlights video on his team's effort Friday, the quality material is available courtesy of the No. 2 Sailors.

The goaltending tandem of Cleo Harrington and Carlee Kapana shared duties for the first time this season and combined for 13 saves and three steals at No. 6 Laguna Beach.

Rachel Whitelegge prevented a scoring chance in the second period by stealing the ball as the shooter was set to release a close-range shot.

And Elissia Schilling and Avery Peterson recorded thumping blocks from the field in the third period.

Those defensive gems and more helped Newport Harbor cruise to a 10-4 nonleague victory and hand Laguna Beach its most lopsided defeat of the season.

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SLIDESHOW: OCVarsity Hot Shots 2: Friday's soccer, water polo

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"We're very frustrated," Laguna Beach coach Ethan Damato said. "They're the best unit I've been against or seen (this season), especially without one of their best players."

Newport Harbor (14-4) played without attacker Carly Christian, one of slickest defenders who suffered a concussion in practice last week. The senior is questionable to return next week, Barnett said.

But Newport Harbor's defense was still stout, holding Laguna Beach (13-7) to two even-strength goals.

"We played very good defense," Barnett said. "That was the big key."

Newport Harbor senior Carolyn Smith led the offense with a season-high five goals, providing a shining example of what the Sailors needed in the absence of Christian.

"Everybody else has to step up," Barnett said.

Barnett said he featured Kapana, a member of the U.S. youth team who has been playing on junior varsity, in the varsity match because Laguna Beach fields only two levels.

Barnett moved his freshman-sophomore goalie to JV and gave Kapana the second half behind Harrington, who had six saves.

Kapana made seven saves, including one off her face on an attempt at center by Makenzie Fischer, her teammate on the U.S. youth squad.

Kapana was dazed but recovered to block a shot off the rebound.

Harrington sparked Newport Harbor early in the second by stuffing a hard shot from center by Fischer.

Could Harrington and Kapana be the best two goalies in Orange County?

"Maybe," Damato said.

The Sailors dropped an extra defender to assist defending Fischer, who finished with two power-play goals.

In other nonleague games:

No. 9 San Clemente 7, No. 10 Edison 5: The Tritons (11-14) bounced back from a loss against Dana Hills on Tuesday to post the victory at Ocean View.

No. 5 Los Alamitos 9, Murrieta Valley 4: Stephanie Mutafyan scored four goals to lead the Griffins (16-4) at Ocean View.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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