Corona del Mar’s Tharp chooses USC for water polo

Corona del Mar High senior goalkeeper Erin Tharp has verbally committed to USC for women’s water polo, she said Thursday.

One of the best goalies in the CIF Southern Section, Tharp will be entering her second year as the Sea Kings’ starting goalie this season. Last year, she had big shoes to fill in replacing graduate Heidi Ritner, the 2016 Newport-Mesa Player of the Year. But Tharp made 240 saves, was a first-team All-Pacific Coast League goalie and earned second-team Daily Pilot Dream Team honors.

USC has won five national titles, most recently in 2016.

“USC is an amazing school for not only water polo but also academics,” Tharp said in a text message. “I like the long-standing athletic tradition and I look forward to following in [CdM and USC goalie alumna] Tumua Anae’s footsteps. They have an outstanding water polo program, and I look forward to playing for Jovan Vavic and being a part of the Trojan family.”

Tharp also said she wanted to thank CdM girls’ water polo coach Justin Papa and assistant Cassidy Papa for their guidance through the college recruiting process, as well as her teammates.

“I would not have had this opportunity without them and all their hard work,” she said.

matthew.szabo@latimes.com

Twitter: @mjszabo

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