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El Toro takes another step forward in stature
High school water polo.
The top team in Division 1 boys water polo again was unmistakable Saturday.
But the next group of contenders became considerably more jumbled thanks to El Toro.
Joey Colton scored six goals, including the winner with 2 minutes left, as the host Chargers rallied to stun No. 2 Newport Harbor, 11-10, in a nonleague match.
El Toro (12-5) entered the week ranked eighth in the county and ninth in Division 1. After capturing the Villa Park Classic, the Chargers dropped a league showdown at Dana Hills and were upset by sub-.500 Villa Park.
But earlier this week, they pushed Loyola of Los Angeles — ranked second in the division — in a narrow loss on the road.
And now, El Toro has defeated the No. 3 team in the division, Newport Harbor.
"The team, although I have a lot of seniors, is kind of untested just because the group last year played so much," first-year El Toro coach Brett McCleave said.
"A lot of these games, they're learning lessons. ... When my team is playing (well), we're one of the top teams. But it also proved that if we don't show up, we can lose to lower-ranked teams."
Newport Harbor (14-3) led, 6-3, at halftime, but El Toro responded by outscoring the Sailors, 4-1, in the third quarter.
El Toro goalie Byron Rivers finished with 10 saves. Dan Stevens scored three goals for the Sailors.
In another nonleague game:
No. 1 Mater Dei 13, No. 4 Corona del Mar 5: The visiting Monarchs (15-0) used sharp outside shooting to counter the Sea Kings' sagging defense at center and collect a Southern Section-record 63rd consecutive victory.
Corona del Mar (11-6) dropped extra defense to slow Mater Dei center Jon Walters at 2 meters, but attackers Kent Inoue and Phillip Tran took advantage of much of the space on the perimeter to score five and four goals, respectively.
The duo also helped Mater Dei erase a 3-1 deficit early in the second period with a 10-0 run that lasted into the fourth.
"It's pick your poison, I guess," Mater Dei coach Chris Segesman said of the defensive strategy. "You're either going to drop all the way on Jon because if you get that ball in Jon's hands, it's a shot, a goal or ejection. And if you don't do that, you've got outside shots."
Mater Dei also overcame early foul trouble. Defender Matthew Cuozzo fouled out in the first period. Attacker Nicholas Silvers picked two fouls.
"We were in a bit of trouble," Segesman said. "(Nicholas) Lavayen and Stig (Terrebonne) did a tremendous job guarding 2-meters."
Corona del Mar finished 3 for 8 on the man-advantage; Mater Dei went 3 for 7.
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