The Newport Water Polo Foundation 18-and-under girls have gotten stronger as summer has continued.
They showed teams from across the country their progress at the recently concluded USA Water Polo National Junior Olympics.
Newport, playing with players who will make up the Newport Harbor High varsity team in the winter, took ninth in the platinum division Sunday after outlasting CHAWP of Chino Hills, 15-13, at USC.
Corona del Mar's 18-and-under girls finished 19th in the platinum division at the tournament, held over four days at Los Angeles-area pools. CdM edged Clovis, 6-5, on Sunday at Whittier High. Pippa Saunders and Ally McCormick scored three goals each.
The Newport 18U girls, coached by Bill Barnett, left for Hawaii on Monday for their final tournament of the summer. They're playing in the Hawaiian Invitational tournament this week in Honolulu, and they come into that tournament with plenty of momentum as they finished a strong ninth at Junior Olympics.
Newport went 6-1-1 in its eight matches, and the Sailors perhaps could have even claimed they were better than their ninth-place showing. They only lost one match, to Commerce at its home pool, and tied the No. 2-seeded NorCal team, 7-7. NorCal went on to place fourth at the tournament.
Newport is fairly young, as only incoming seniors Kailyn Obenauer and Catherine Carpenter are expected to be returning starters during the high school season. But the group has progressed nicely, after finishing second to CdM at the Santa Barbara Summer Tournament of Champions in July and third at the California High School State Championships.
Barnett said prior to his team's tie against NorCal that the Junior Olympics always present a good opportunity for Newport.
"It's important to play teams that are a little beitter than you," Barnett said. "That's the point of playing Junior Olympics for us. We're playing all-star teams, one, and also teams with girls that already graduated."
Newport also had teams in the Junior Olympics at the under-12, 14 and 16 levels. The under-16 girls took second in the gold division after falling to Rose Bowl, 8-4, on Sunday.
The 16-and-under girls had a tough first day, losing two of three games to fall into the gold division (the bottom half of the 48 teams after day one). But Newport then won its next four games, against Kingfish, Sacramento, San Diego Shores and Lyons, to make the gold division title game.
The Newport 14-and-under girls finished 11th in the platinum division after topping the 680 Drivers team, 5-3, on Sunday. The team, coached by Rob Williams, finished 5-1-1.
Newport's 12-and-under contingent was fourth in the gold division after falling to Northwood, 6-2, in the third-place match.team, coached by Rob Williams, finished 5-1-1.
Newport's 12-and-under contingent was fourth in the gold division after falling to Northwood, 6-2, in the third-place match.