Two teams that are ranked No. 2 in their respective CIF Southern Section girls’ water polo divisions squared off Thursday night in a Wave League opener.
Edison High is ranked No. 2 in Division 4, while Marina holds the same ranking in Division 6.
But, while the Chargers and Vikings both hope for extended postseason stays, it became clear which team could reasonably say that it has league title aspirations.
Junior center Sam Worley scored a season-high seven goals, and Edison beat Marina 14-3 at Corona del Mar High.
Edison (7-6) was the league runner-up last season to Huntington Beach, which beat Fountain Valley 25-1 in another league opener Wednesday. The Chargers and Oilers will meet for the first time in the double-round format on Tuesday at 6:20 p.m. at Newport Harbor High.
Huntington Beach beat Edison 11-3 in league play last season.
“They still are the team to beat, no doubt in my mind, but our girls 100% think they can win,” Edison coach Nick Graffis said. “I think it would still be an upset. I’d say that on paper we’re not better ... but the girls are confident and think that they can win.”
There is reason for the Chargers to be confident. They were stout defensively against Marina (12-5) in winning their fourth straight match. Included in the run was a 4-2 nonleague win over Dana Hills on Saturday, the team that edged the Chargers in the quarterfinals of the Division 4 playoffs last season.
“I think that we’re playing decent, but I think that we’ve stepped up and won some big games,” Graffis said. “We’re playing with heart. We know that there’s a little bit of pressure on us this year.”
Junior driver Ella Jensen added three goals, three assists and three steals for Edison. Seniors Lauren Hanscom, Ashley Hogan and Taylor Bartlett each added a goal, as did sophomore Lily Worley. Goalkeeper Coryn Cavecche made six saves.
Sam Worley has stepped up at center as the Chargers have been without senior center Delaney Lewellyn, an All-CIF player last year. Graffis said that Lewellyn broke her elbow in an ice skating accident just before the season started, but he’s hopeful she will be back by the end of league play.
Worley’s seven goals Thursday surpassed her previous season-high of six, which she scored in nonleague wins over Irvine and Long Beach Poly.
“It’s stressful, but it’s kind of cool,” Worley said of her increased playing time in Lewellyn’s absence. “I just have less rest time. I’ve just got to make sure my stamina stays up, so we’ve got to change my diet ... I eat a lot of junk food, and that’s got to stop, because Nick said.”
Senior goalkeeper Emma Marsh made nine saves for the Vikings, who got one goal each from senior Rianne Gear, junior Maddison Clobes and sophomore Lana Kardos. Senior Makenna Reynolds had an assist, a field block and four steals.
Marina has built its strong record after winning the Segerstrom and Westminster tournaments earlier this season.
“That helped boost a lot of confidence,” Vikings coach Tamara Towgood said. “Usually they come in and they’re already defeated when they play Edison. Any time you play teams like that, Los Al, Newport, all of those girls have been playing for years and it’s difficult. But yeah, they put up a challenge and I thought it was great. One of the six-on-fives was perfectly executed, and it was super-cool to see them take their time and just be confident in that. I’m excited for them.”
Support our sports coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.