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Rivals unite for Liz Lord

Rivals came together for a special cause during Friday’s Battle of the Bay boys’ volleyball match at Corona del Mar High.

The varsity, junior varsity and frosh-soph matches are among the highlights during the regular season for Newport Harbor and CdM. This year the Battle of the Bay was also a fundraiser for Liz Lord, a former Newport Harbor High volleyball player who was recently diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.

The Sailors, with help from the Sea Kings, raised $10,000 for Lord and her medical expenses, Newport Harbor Coach Dan Glenn said Tuesday night.

Lord, who lives in Portland, Ore., was recently featured in the Daily Pilot, and in a column by Charlie Brande. She played for Glenn and was also a student of CdM Coach Steve Conti’s while attending Ensign Intermediate. Brande also coached her in club.

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Glenn said there was more fundraising before the Battle of the Bay with T-shirt sales and money from raffle tickets going to Lord.

“I am so excited about that,” Glenn said about the money raised. “The community really came through on both sides of the bay. Corona was so nice to participate with the fundraising. There has been some talk about the negative involvement with parents and sports teams. But we have to focus on the positives too and there were a lot of parents who stepped up. It was really nice to see.”

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Friday’s Battle of the Bay was yet another classic between the two great programs. The fourth set was one of the best I’ve ever seen in high school boys’ volleyball. Newport Harbor won it to extend the match. But CdM protected its home court by winning the five-set thriller.

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It was a great match, and it was very neat to see the community come together for a good cause.

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One thing you can say about Tori Gabert is that she is determined.

The Corona del Mar High water polo player was excited for her senior season. She was anxious to have a breakthrough-type year. But sometimes not everything goes to plan. Sometimes you must improvise. Adapt.

There was definitely a bit of improvising, as the Sea Kings were transitioning to a new coach, Sam Bailey. Gabert, a utility player, didn’t have the season she wanted, but that didn’t stop her from reaching her goals.

She always had a goal of playing in college. Turns out she had to provide herself an opportunity to play on the next level after her senior season. An opportunity, that’s all she wants.

She sent out a highlight video to UCI women’s water polo coach Dan Klatt. Klatt later responded asking if Gabert was still interested in playing at UCI, she said.

Last week, Gabert found out she got accepted into UCI, where she’ll major in journalism and where she plans to play water polo.

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I tried to warn her about journalism, but she’s going for it. Like I said, determined. She said she’s also interested in film. That’s good.

If Gabert’s name looks familiar that’s because she’s the younger sister of Stephanie Gabert, a former standout swimmer at CdM. Stephanie went to Arizona and then transferred to UCI, where, unfortunately, the swim teams were eliminated because of budget cuts in 2009.

Stephanie, who coaches the Sea Kings and her younger sister this spring on the swim team, will graduate from UCI this year. She plans to attend UCI for her graduate school work, so both Gaberts will be going to UCI next year.

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USA Water Polo picked prime spots for their men’s and women’s water polo FINA World League Prelim matches.

The U.S. men’s water polo team, which features former CdM standout John Mann and former UCI All-American Ryan Bailey, will face Canada at Costa Mesa High Friday at 7 p.m. The U.S. men play against Canada again Sunday at noon at Costa Mesa.

The U.S. women’s water polo team, which features Anne Belden (Newport Harbor) and Tumua Anae (CdM), also faces Canada, at Corona del Mar High May 20 at 6 p.m., and then again May 21 at 4 p.m.

Ticket information can be found at https://www.usawaterpolo.org.

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