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Jake Cavano, Mo Kenney help UCLA men’s water polo top rival USC for national title

UCLA freshman Mo Kenney, shown playing high school water polo with Newport Harbor in 2019.
UCLA freshman Mo Kenney, shown playing high school water polo with Newport Harbor in 2019, scored one goal and had two steals in the NCAA Division I championship match.
(File Photo )

They went from Surf League rivals in high school to teammates at UCLA.

Now, they can also call themselves national champions.

Huntington Beach High alumnus Jake Cavano and Newport Harbor High product Mo Kenney combined for three goals, helping the UCLA men’s water polo team beat rival USC 7-6 to win the NCAA Division I title on Sunday at Uytengsu Aquatics Center on the USC campus.

It is the 12th NCAA championship in program history for No. 3-seeded UCLA (9-7).

Cavano, a junior attacker, scored two goals, including the seventh goal for the Bruins on the power play with 6:23 remaining in the fourth quarter. That gave UCLA a 7-4 lead. No. 4-seeded USC (8-9) scored twice more but couldn’t find the equalizer in the closing minutes.

Cavano was named the first-team All-NCAA Tournament for UCLA. In the final, he also drew two exclusions and had a steal.

Kenney, a freshman attacker, scored the match’s first goal for the Bruins, who never trailed. He also had a drawn exclusion and two steals.

Freshman attacker Tanner Pulice, a Corona del Mar High graduate, added a pair of steals in the final for UCLA. Other locals on the Bruins’ roster included sophomore defender Cameron Reagan (Huntington Beach/Mater Dei High), sophomore attacker Jack White (Newport Harbor High), freshman attacker Ethan Shipman (Huntington Beach) and freshman utility player Maximo Rossi (Laguna Beach/Mater Dei High).

Local players on the USC team included freshman backup goalkeeper Blake Jackson (Newport Harbor High), redshirt senior attacker Luke Wyatt (Newport Beach/Mater Dei High) and freshman utility player Reed Stemler (Newport Harbor High).

Sunday’s match concludes the 2020 NCAA season, which was delayed and shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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