Defending CIF Southern Section Division II champion Corona del Mar High was ranked atop the division in preaseason boys' water polo polls released Monday by the Southern Section.
Newport Harbor is ranked No. 2 in Division I, behind defending champion Mater Dei.
Corona del Mar edged Murrieta Valley, 11-10, last November to win its Orange County-record 13th CIF title, its first in nine years. But CdM graduated nearly all of its top players from that team, including Daily Pilot Newport-Mesa Player of the Year Chase Watson (USC) and fellow Dream Team honorees Hayden Leach (Long Beach State) and Evan Ramsey (Harvard), as well as center Emery Molnar (USC).
One expected key contributor is senior-to-be center Ben Zepfel, who scored the game-winning goal in last year's Division II final.
Newport Harbor is led by first-year Coach Robert Lynn, the former coach at Harvard-Westlake and an assistant coach for the U.S. men's national team. Lynn has been overseas for much of the summer coaching the men's senior and junior national teams but is expected back the first week of September.
Lynn was hired after Jason Lynch, who coached Newport Harbor for 10 years, was fired in April. The Sailors advanced to at least the Division I quarterfinals each year under Lynch, including in 2010, when they lost in the quarterfinals to Dos Pueblos.
Newport Harbor, which placed third at the California State High School Championships in July, returns both its top two goal scorers from a year ago in senior-to-be Farrel South (113 goals) and incoming junior Dan Stevens (55). Stevens won a silver medal with Team USA at the Youth Pan American Games earlier this month in Puerto Rico.
Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor are scheduled to scrimmage on Sept. 7 at 4 p.m., at CdM. Both teams then open their regular-season schedule against Foothill, ranked No. 4 in Division II.
Newport Harbor plays at Foothill on Sept. 10.
Corona del Mar ventures to Santa Ana to face the Knights on Sept. 16.
— Matt Szabo