Boys' Water Polo: CdM is overpowering

A fuse in the shot clock blew 30 seconds into the second period at Corona del Mar High. The teenagers working the scorer's table called for help and CdM Coach Barry O'Dea obliged.

From the other side of the pool deck, O'Dea walked over. When he arrived, he asked a question.

"System have power?" O'Dea said, before adding, "Hit reset."

At this point, with the Sea Kings ahead by three goals, their boys' water polo opponent might have wanted to start over.

Play resumed five minutes later and CdM provided all the power it needed in and out of the water. The Sea Kings beat Huntington Beach, 10-5, in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs on Wednesday.

Charlie Rodosky led the Sea Kings with three goals and Matt Sherburne and Jack Trush added two goals apiece.

O'Dea came away impressed with the defensive effort turned in by goalie Ryan Hamm (14 saves) and defenders Ashton Jajonie, Ryan Greenwald and Wade Munger. The Oilers (20-10) only produced three goals through the first three quarters. Two came on power-play situations and one on a five-meter penalty shot.

"I think the guys have come a long way," O'Dea said. "They're a different ballclub than we were when we lost that Northwood game [on Oct. 17]. They woke up [after the Sea Kings' first Pacific Coast League loss in 10 years]. Our defense has changed, which in turn has changed our team."

The Sea Kings are going to have to transform again, if they plan to continue their season. Next for CdM (17-11) is a Saturday quarterfinal game at 1 p.m. against powerhouse Mater Dei (27-1), the top seed.

The Monarchs and Sea Kings will play for the second time in 15 days. The last meeting easily went to Mater Dei, 15-3, at home.

Round 2 is at CdM and for a chance to advance to the semifinals. Playing the quarterfinal contest at home, O'Dea said, gives his team no edge.

"You're playing Mater Dei," O'Dea said. "You've just got to play the best game of your life.

"We hope that we're going to play really well on Saturday and see what we can do. We've got nothing to lose, which makes us a little desperate and a little dangerous."

Prior to Wednesday, O'Dea said the Sea Kings didn't talk about the possibility of facing Mater Dei again, yet he admitted to speaking with Mater Dei's coach, Chris Segesman, on Tuesday.

"We were like trying to make plans," said O'Dea, referring to what time the quarterfinal match worked best for both schools.

They agreed to play in the afternoon.

If it were up to the Sea Kings, they wouldn't have wanted to see Mater Dei this early in the postseason. They go undefeated in the Pacific Coast League and don't share the league title with Northwood, the Sea Kings don't see three-time defending section champion Mater Dei in the quarterfinals.

Well, Mater Dei showed it could be beaten. Saturday, the Monarchs' 105-game winning streak ended after losing to host San Diego Cathedral Catholic, 8-7, in overtime.

O'Dea can go over why the Monarchs are the favorites against CdM, their 6-foot-8 senior goalie, McQuin Baron, has trained with the U.S. national team and their counterattack is nearly impossible to stop. Oh, and two of the Monarchs' top players, senior captain James Walters and junior Nick Silvers, live in Newport Beach, while six other players live in Newport-Mesa.

"I couldn't tell you who's supposed to go to CdM," O'Dea said of the local players at Mater Dei had they decided to attend a public school in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. "We coach the kids that come in front of us. If they want to come here and play, we run a great program."

What O'Dea can say is finding a parking spot at CdM, even on a Saturday afternoon, will be tough.

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