Boys' Water Polo: Chase stepping up for CdM

Reid Chase is constantly moving in the water on offense and defense, making things happen for the Corona del Mar High boys' water polo team.

Catch him outside of the pool, and you'll see the mustache that the CdM senior is growing.

"I've just been growing it for CIF," Chase said. "It's No-shave November right now."

CdM was in a close shave on Saturday night at its home pool, facing rival Newport Harbor in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals. Chase helped the Sea Kings rally for a 7-6 victory, holding the Sailors scoreless for the final 12-plus minutes of the game.

"We knew that we were in really good shape," said Chase, who had a game-high four goals, three steals and an assist. "We were going to be a second-half team, like we always are. I never really felt that we were going to lose that game. I just trusted in our coaching. We knew that we had to get to one more game, had to get to that semifinal. We definitely weren't going to lose to Newport Harbor to end our high school careers."

Chase leads CdM with 82 goals. The Sea Kings play top-seeded Mater Dei, the two-time defending Division 1 champion which has won 77 matches in a row, in a Division 1 semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Irvine's Woollett Aquatics Center.

Chase has come a long way in water polo. Over the summer he was Team USA's leading scorer, as the U.S. men's junior national team won silver at the UANA Pan American Junior Championships in Montreal, Canada.

Chase, who has a 4.3 grade-point average and has taken six Advanced Placement classes at CdM, was recently accepted into Stanford. He has official recruiting trips scheduled for Stanford, UCLA and Cal. On Monday he will leave for Singapore, where he will train prior to playing for Team USA at the FINA Youth World Championships, which begin Dec. 1 in Australia.

Chase gives a lot of the credit for his aquatics prowess to his aunt, Karen Musselman, who convinced him to try out for the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguards program after he moved back to Newport when he was in the fifth grade.

Yes, Reid Chase is a cousin of CdM graduate Alex Musselman, who was the 2011 Newport-Mesa Player of the Year as a girls' water polo goalie and is now at UCLA. He said he is close with Alex and Maddie, who is a freshman at CdM this year.

Karen Musselman's sister is Susan Chase, Reid's mother. She watched Reid before the Chase family (Susan, Russ, Reid and CdM sophomore football player Parker) moved to Cincinnati when Reid was little.

"I was his nanny," Karen Musselman said. "Alex and Reid were cute little toddlers together, which is kind of funny. I have tons of pictures of them together when they were little. They were a tag team, let's put it that way."

When the Chase family moved back to the Newport area from Encinitas, Alex Musselman was already involved with water polo. Karen said she tried to convince Reid to get into aquatics as well. He was always a good athlete, but growing up he played more traditional, land-based sports.

"When he moved here, you naturally want them to do Junior Guards," Karen Musselman said. "For me, as a parent, I want my kids to be excellent swimmers. That's just life. You want to be a good swimmer so you can swim the ocean. I was just adamant about him being part of the Junior Guard program. I was like, 'You've got to swim.'"

Chase progressed quickly in swimming, then in water polo with the Anteater club program. He has stepped up in his time at CdM, and is one of four team captains for the Sea Kings.

"He has this knack of putting himself in the right spot, and to help get his team in positions to win games," CdM Coach Barry O'Dea said. "And he's one of the nicest kids you'll ever meet. He's got a great smile, extremely approachable, and he has fun acting like a goofball. You should see him and [CdM assistant coach and four-time Olympian] Ryan Bailey at practice. They've got a great relationship and they joke with each other.

"Reid has taken that role on this team of, 'If you guys need something, you can run it through me and I'll get it. I'll make it happen.' He didn't run away from that … he gets it. He gets the idea of hard work."

Chase knows that beating the Monarchs will not be easy. But he is excited for the challenge.

"Mater Dei's a great team," he said. "They've won 77 [straight] games; they're obviously really hard to beat. No one can really guard [senior center and Newport Beach resident] Jon Walters; it's been evident all year. You've got to give it to them; they've done amazing things. We have nothing to lose … we're playing for each other and just playing to stay alive. None of us want to stop training. We're definitely going to miss each other once the season's over."

And the CdM water polo program will miss Reid Chase.

Twitter: @mjszabo

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