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Walters the force behind Mater Dei's perfect storm
There are many facts and stats that illustrate Mater Dei's dominance in boys water polo.
The record winning streak.
The historical bid for consecutive undefeated seasons.
And also there is one that applies to center Jon Walters.
The Monarchs have not lost since Walters became eligible after his high-profile transfer from Newport Harbor in the spring of 2010.
Top-seeded Mater Dei (30-0) will look to extend that streak and a few others Saturday night when it takes on second-seeded Long Beach Wilson (23-7) in the CIF-SS Division 1 final at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center at 7.
Walters will be in the center of the action, literally.
His job on offense will be to establish scoring position in the stormiest waters in the pool: 2 meters in front of the opponents' cage.
"Jon is a beast there at 2 meters," Corona del Mar coach Barry O'Dea said after Mater Dei handled Corona del Mar, 18-9, in the semifinals Wednesday.
The USC-commit uses his powerful 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame to establish position and knows how to finish his moves. The U.S. junior team center leads Mater Dei in scoring with 123 goals.
Walters netted 101 goals last season in helping Mater Dei go 31-0 and claim the Division 1 title.
Walters was ruled ineligible for his sophomore season at Mater Dei because his transfer from Newport Harbor was ruled athletically motivated.
Mater Dei still captured its first Division 1 crown that season and won its final 17 matches to start their Southern Section-record winning streak, which stands at 78 games.
But Mater Dei wasn't perfect in 2010. The Monarchs dropped two games — nonleague matches against Loyola of Los Angeles and El Toro — and forfeited another.
With Walters as their 2-meter man, the Monarchs are 61-0. And his brother, James, a junior, starts at attacker and is one of the county's top players.
"Obviously, they are two great players," Mater Dei coach Chris Segesman said earlier this season of the brothers. "That impact, having that quality, it makes the other guys that much better around them."
Mater Dei's opponents know that well when it comes to Jon Walters. Many teams this season have dropped extra defensive help on Walters, which has left perimeter shooters open.
Attacker Kent Inoue is one player who has arguably benefitted the most. One of Mater Dei's most improved players, Inoue has racked up 90 goals, 50 more than last season.
How Long Beach Wilson defends Walters will be one of the keys today. The Bruins' have their own strong 2-meter man in Jackson Kimbell, son of Olympian Doug Kimbell (Villa Park).
With one more victory today, the Monarchs will have produced another impressive feat. They'll become the first Southern Section team since Whittier in 1953 to win consecutive titles with undefeated seasons.