CdM youngsters excel at JO Quals

The age division is 10-and-under co-ed, and Coach Ted Bandaruk's CdM Junior Polo team truly utilizes that distinction.

"I've got some 9-year-olds, I've got some 8-year-olds, I've even got a 7-year-old," Bandaruk said. "It's a very mixed group."

That youth didn't matter last weekend in the Southern Pacific Zone Junior Olympics qualifying tournament. Bandaruk's team impressed. Despite a No. 9 seeding, CdM finished fourth at Tustin High.

Bandaruk said his team played tough, battling tournament champion Vanguard to a 2-2 halftime tie in one game. Vanguard eventually won the game, 7-3.

CdM most likely made this summer's Junior Olympics in Orange County, though the SoPac Zone is only guaranteed three spots in the championship division in that age group. The SoPac Zone can receive further allocations if other zones throughout the country don't use all of theirs.

CdM featured standout players like goalie Adam Humbert, Josh Anderson, Kyle Jolas, Tristan Hook and Eamon Hennessey. Bandaruk's squad also started two girls, Honnie Vandeweghe-O'Shea and Camille Miras. Honnie is the younger sister of pro tennis player CoCo Vandeweghe, who is slated to play for the Orange County Breakers this summer.

Bandaruk said in one game, an 18-9 victory over International, Vandeweghe-O'Shea scored eight or nine goals.

"She's my star," he said. "Some of the refs say, 'Why do you call her Honnie (honey) when she's so tough?'"

Other local younger age-group teams found it tough qualifying for the Junior Olympics, set for July 27-30 (boys) and Aug. 1-4 (girls). Newport Beach's 12-and-under boys did clinch a championship division spot with their ninth-place finish in the zone, as did the 14-and-under boys with their eighth-place finish.

"I thought it was a good experience for all of our teams," Newport technical director and head coach Robert Lynn said. "A lot of the younger teams, such as 12-and-under girls and 14-and-under girls, all of them did well as opposed to when they started ... they want to compete now. It was a good weekend."

CdM Aquatics' 14-and-under girls' team clinched a championship division berth with its seventh-place finish. Newport Beach finished ninth; only the top eight teams were guaranteed championship division spots. Lynn said the team should be on a waiting list.

Newport's 12-and-under girls finished 10th in the 12-and-under girls tournament, and Costa Mesa Aquatics Club earned its best tournament showing in that age division with a sixth-place finish. But, in that division, the SoPac Zone is only guaranteed three championship division spots.

CdM's 14-and-under boys' team, coached by Corey Delahunt and Steven Smith, finished a solid ninth. They are also hoping to make the championship division, although there also is a lower "classic" division in 14-and-under boys. The Anteater club's 14-and-under boys, who finished 12th, also qualified for JOs.

The CdM squad won five games, only losing to Northwood (second place) and Alliance (seventh) in a shootout. According to information provided by the team, CdM 14-and-under goalie Tristan Ospina had numerous clutch saves, and Foster Hoose and Vincent Ong were the leading scorers. Nick Britt led the defense and had numerous ejections drawn, while starters Will Rodosky and Will Ueberoth contributed several goals. Kade Johnson, Cole Strohson and Tamir Avital were instrumental to the strong showing as well.

SoPac Zone Junior Olympic qualifying for older age-group teams is later this month, June 28-30, also in Orange County.

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