PREP WATER POLO / SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFFS : Sailors Have the Blues While Beating Mission Viejo

If Dennis Rodman played water polo, no one would know what color hair he had. So it was only after Newport Harbor defeated Mission Viejo, 16-5, in a first-round Division I playoff game Thursday and five Sailor starters pulled off their caps that most spectators saw what they had done.

“The guys just wanted to do it,” said Mike Peetz, one of the Newport Five. “This blue is going to match the CIF championship rings we get.”

Three tough games still separate the Sailors from that goal--Tuesday, they play third-seeded Villa Park in the quarterfinals--but they made quick work of overmatched Mission Viejo (14-13).

Forcing turnovers with tight defense and converting on the counterattack, Newport Harbor (20-5) scored seven goals before the Diablos got on the scoreboard three minutes into the second quarter.


Mission Viejo never recovered. The Diablos’ leading scorer, two-meter man Trey Batten, was limited to only two goals by the Sailors’ defense, which was paced by John Jones (five steals) and Cole Lunde (three).

Newport Harbor dominated on offense--Peetz scored five goals, Lunde scored three and Chris Richardson, Chris Seib and John Ucifferi each scored two--but Coach Bill Barnett wasn’t satisfied with the way his team took care of the ball.

“We threw the ball away so many times it was incredible,” Barnett said. “I thought they were more focused on their crazy hairdos than the game.”