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Muller's play propels Newport Harbor to victory
Newport Harbor's No. 2 boys water polo team needs a spark against visiting Long Beach Wilson.
Newport Harbor's boys water polo team needed a spark against visiting Long Beach Wilson on Tuesday.
Goalie Wyatt Muller provided just that early in the third period, helping propel the second-ranked Sailors to a 10-9 victory in a duel of CIF-SS Division 1 contenders.
Muller prevented the Bruins from opening a three-goal lead by blocking a penalty shot by Jackson Kimbell, last season's Division 2 player of the year.
Newport Harbor (2-0) responded with three consecutive goals in the third period and won on Curtis Fink's strike from center with 1:05 left in the fourth.
The Sailors, ranked second in Division 1 behind Mater Dei, scored the final two goals of the match. Dan Stevens capped a strong second-half by scoring from the perimeter with two minutes remaining, knotting the score at 9.
Long Beach Wilson (0-1), ranked sixth in the division, had two good scoring chances in the final minute but Muller tipped a perimeter chance by Max Irving off the cage. The Bruins grabbed the rebound but their final lob from the wing also bounced off the crossbar with about 30 seconds left.
Despite the intense finish, Muller's thumping stuff in the third period wasn't forgotten.
"He played phenomenally, especially in the second half," Stevens said of Muller. "That really fired me up. I love good defense. ... It is a momentum changer."
Muller has been dealing with knee tendinitis but in his first match, he finished with eight saves. Long Beach Wilson also drew a penalty shot early in the fourth, and missed off a post.
"Those two 5-meter (penalty shots) were just kind of hard," Long Beach Wilson coach Tony Martinho said. "I thought we had a lot of opportunities."
Newport Harbor converted both its penalty shots.
The Sailors led, 8-7, going into the fourth quarter. It was Newport Harbor's first lead since, 1-0.
"I like that game even if we lost," Newport Harbor coach Robert Lynn said. "It's only going to help us get better."
Stevens paced Newport Harbor with three goals while Fink and lefty Mitch Mendoza added two apiece.
Kimbell scored his team-high three goals in the first period.
Newport Harbor finished 3 for 7 on the extra-man; Wilson 3 for 4.
In other matches:
No. 4 Los Alamitos 10, No. 10 Northwood 5: Chandler Jarrels scored five goals for the visiting Griffins (1-0), who overcame 14 saves by Tim Shaw.
No. 10 Santa Margarita 14, Villa Park 13 (OT): Ryan Melosini made 19 saves and Stephen Riggins scored four goals for the host Eagles (2-1).
No. 5 Dana Hills 13, Servite 9: Sam Pfeil and Grady Williams each scored three goals to help pace the visiting Dolphins (2-0).
No. 6 El Toro 14, Esperanza 3: The host Chargers (1-0) notched the first victory for first-year coach Brett McCleave.
No. 9 Huntington Beach 12, San Clemente 5: The Oilers, unranked in Division 1, sprinted past the Tritons, tied for 10th in the division. Jovan Jeremic scored five goals for the host Oilers (6-0).
Capistrano Valley 19, Edison 12: Sophomore Jacob Rendina scored six goals to lead seven players in scoring for the host Cougars (2-1).
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