Huntington Beach boys water polo beats Newport Harbor in league for the first time since ’16

NEWPORT BEACH Some of the chatter going into the coronavirus-shortened water polo season pegged the Huntington Beach High boys as the best squad in Orange County.

The Oilers provided support for that claim on Wednesday, March 10.

Huntington Beach piled up six goals in the first period, never trailed and became the first Orange County team since 2017 to beat host Newport Harbor in a 17-11 triumph in the Surf League.

The past two seasons, Harvard-Westlake has mostly been the only school to defeat Newport Harbor but the Oilers accomplished it in impressive fashion Wednesday.

“It’s a big one for us,” Huntington Beach coach Sasa Branisavljevic said. “We are still growing and learning, and we want to get even better than this but to beat Newport at home, we’ve been waiting for it for a long time.”

The last county team to sink the Sailors was Mater Dei during the 2017 postseason. The Oilers also beat Newport Harbor that fall at the South Coast Tournament but not in league. Huntington Beach’s last league victory against the Sailors came from its 2016 team, the best in school history and CIF-SS Division 1 runner-up that fall.

Huntington Beach (2-0, 2-0) racked up the goals by balancing a swift counterattack with timely production from center.

Freshman Ryder Dodd paced the Oilers with six goals, including three on the counterattack. He also saved a goal late in the third period by sprinting behind goalie Gabe Haddad to grab a deflected shot before it floated into the cage.

Dodd’s UCLA-bound brother Chase added three goals but fueled the 2-meter attack led with several outstanding entry passes into center en route to three assists.

Senior center Tyler Padua scored one goal and drew four exclusions. Center James Rozolis-Hill didn’t play because of precautionary reasons, Branisavljevic said, but Ethan Spoon came off the bench to score from set.

Emerging left-hander sophomore Zach Bettino added four goals, including two in the opening period, while Hadded finished with 10 saves.

Chase Dodd credited his team’s counterattack and mentality for the victory.

“Probably the constant counterattack all four quarters,” he said. “They actually played really, really well on the counter defense but we just kept doing it.”

Chase Dodd added that his team viewed the match as an opportunity not to be wasted.

“We’re fortunate we actually get the season,” the senior said. “For the past year, we never knew we were going to have a season. If it’s just a short, six games, we really want to make the most out of it.”

UCLA-bound center Eli Liechty led Newport with four goals and drew three penalty shots in the opening frame. The Sailors converted two of their four penalty shots in the game.

Newport Harbor coach Ross Sinclair said fitness was a factor for his squad, which beat rival Harvard-Westlake on Monday. “We came off a good win on Monday, (and) had a hard practice yesterday,” he said. “It’s hard to back that up when you don’t train for 11 1/2 months consistently.”

The teams will play the second-round of the league on March 19 at Newport Harbor. The Sailors face another tough non-league foe Saturday with Loyola. “We’re just excited to play,” Sinclair said.

End of 3rd: HB 11, Newport 8 on strength of this extra man goal pic.twitter.com/u2FvmSylBB

— Dan Albano (@ocvarsityguy) March 11, 2021

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Orange County boys water polo Top 10 (10-23-17)

The latest O.C. rankings through Oct. 23, 2017

BOYS WATER POLO TOP 10

1. Mater Dei

2. Orange Lutheran

3. Santa Margarita

4. Huntington Beach

5. Newport Harbor

6. Foothill

7. Corona del Mar

8. Laguna Beach

9. Los Alamitos

10. San Clemente

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Day 1 scores, quarterfinalists from Steve Pal Memorial boys water polo tournament

Day 1 scores from the Steve Pal Memorial boys water polo tournament:

At Beckman
Santiago/Corona 9, Northwood 8
Palos Verdes 9, South Pasadena 5
Beckman 6, San Marcos 3
Laguna Beach 16, La Canada 5
Palos Verdes 12, Santiago/Corona 7
Northwood 10, South Pasadena 6
Laguna Beach 15, Beckman 7
San Marcos 11, La Canada 1

Group winners: Laguna Beach, Palos Verdes

At Villa Park
Villa Park 13, Claremont 5
La Serna 15, Temescal Canyon 5
Damien 13, Rio Mesa 8
Ayala 10, Clovis North 8
La Serna 15, Villa Park 8
Temescal Canyon 16, Claremont 11
Damien 12, Ayala 10

Clovis North 7, Rio Mesa 5

Group winners: Damien, La Serna

At Esperanza
Santa Barbara 11, Esperanza 6
Dana Hills 12, Flintridge Prep 4
Canyon Crest 10, Servite 8
Mira Costa 11, Cerritos 3
Dana Hills 11, Santa Barbara 7
Esperanza 10, Flintridge Prep 3
Mira Costa 13, Canyon Crest 5
Servite 13. Cerritos 9

Group winners: Dana Hills, Mira Costa

At Yorba Linda
La Jolla 11, Yorba Linda 7
Redlands East Valley 12, Moorpark 2
Righetti 12, Notre Dame 7
De La Salle 12, Vista Murrieta 2
Redlands East Valley 6, La Jolla 3
Moorpark 5, Yorba Linda 0
De La Salle 10, Righetti 7
Vista Murietta 15, Notre Dame 9

Group winners: De La Salle, REV

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O.C. boys water polo Top 10

BOYS WATER POLO
O.C. Top 10
Oct. 16, 2017

1. Mater Dei

2. Orange Lutheran

3. Huntington Beach

4. Newport Harbor

5. Santa Margarita

6. Foothill

7. Corona del Mar

8. Laguna Beach

9. Aliso Niguel

10. Los Alamitos

Other: San Clemente

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Day 2 scores, final standings from S and R Sport tournament

BOYS WATER POLO

Day 2 scores

S and R Sport tournament

At Woollett Aquatics Center

Left Pool

Miramonte 10, Coronado 9

Bellarmine 12, Jesuit 8

Sacred Heart Prep 14, CdM 8

Foothill 10, Newport Harbor 7

Jesuit 9, Coronado 8 (7th-place)

Miramonte 8, Bellarmine 7 (5th)

Newport Harbor 16, CdM 15 OT (3rd)

Sacred Heart Prep 13, Foothill 6 (championship)

Right Pool

Mater Dei B 16, Irvine 7

Davis 5, Clovis West 4

Acalanes 13, San Clemente 7

Los Al 8, Long Beach Wilson 3

Clovis West 12, Irvine 8 (15th place)

Mater Dei B 14, Davis 4 (13th)

LB Wilson 21, Irvine B 3 (11th)

Los Alamitos 8, San Clemente 7 (9th)

 

 

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Saturday’s semifinal schedule at the Villa Park Classic

BOYS WATER POLO

Villa Park Classic

At Villa Park

Menlo-Atherton vs,. La Serna, 10 a.m.

Aliso Niguel vs. Rio Americano, 11 a.m.

Final, 3 p.m.

Third-place: 2 p.m.

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Friday’s South Coast Tournament quarterfinal scores, semifinal schedule

Friday at the South Coast water polo tournament:

Quarterfinals

At Costa Mesa

Orange Lutheran 8, Loyola 7

At Foothill

Mater Dei 9, Foothill 1

At Newport Harbor

Newport Harbor 9, Santa Margarita 8 (OT)

At CdM

Huntington Beach 10, Harvard-Westlake 6

Saturday’s semifinals at Newport

10:40 a.m. Orange Lutheran-Huntington Beach

11:45 a.m. Mater Dei-Newport Harbor

Championship at 4:05 p.m.

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