Chargers' special season ends

HUNTINGTON BEACH — It was a groundbreaking season for the Edison High girls’ water polo team, as the Chargers earned rankings of No. 2 in Orange County and No. 4 in CIF.

The Chargers beat powerhouses Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar for the first time ever — in the same weekend.

But, on Friday afternoon at Golden West College, the season was just inches away from continuing.

A final power-play shot from Edison sophomore Alys Williams was just wide left as Corona del Mar escaped with a 4-3 win in the CIF Southern Section Division I quarterfinal.

Edison, playing in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002, finished the year 22-7.

“This was a great year for these girls,” Coach Diggy Riley said. “They were starting to have some tears [after the game] and I said, ‘Ladies, I know you’re bummed about this, but you cannot walk off this pool deck bummed about this season.’ It was a phenomenal season, and next year’s going to be a blast. It’s going to be fun.”

Edison graduates two senior starters in UC Irvine-bound Danielle Warde and San Diego State-bound goalie Clair Babinski. But players like freshman Melissa Balding and Williams — who finished second on the team with 84 goals — will be back.

Balding scored two of the goals Friday and nearly helped spur a fourth-quarter comeback. It was her power-play goal — the only one for Edison in eight chances — that cut CdM’s lead to 4-2 with 2:44 remaining.

And then it was Williams, whose strike from about seven meters made it a one-goal contest with 1:05 to go.

Babinski got a block with 40 seconds left, then Williams drew an exclusion on CdM’s Victoria Kent with 26 seconds to go. Riley called timeout and Williams got an open shot that just trickled wide.

“A hundred out of a hundred times, I’m giving that ball to Alys,” Riley said. “That was a designed play, to get everyone to [isolate] over to Danielle and leave Alys wide open in the center. Unfortunately it didn’t go in. It missed wide — not by much — but it missed wide.”

CdM got single goals from Margot Money, Pippa Saunders, Claire Eadington and Ally McCormick.

Babinski had a standout game with 10 saves for Edison, which was burned by a couple of counter-attack goals. Junior Haley Kunert also played strong set defense in holding Saunders to one goal, which came on a six-on-five.

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