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DIVISION I WATER POLO PLAYOFFS : Corona del Mar Uses Edge to Cut Up Foothill Defense


Top-seeded Corona del Mar used its man advantage to defeat No. 4 Foothill, 6-4, in a Division I semifinal water polo game Saturday at Tustin High.

The Sea Kings (22-4) will play third-seeded Long Beach Wilson in the finals Wednesday night at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach.

Foothill squandered its six-on-five chances, but the Sea Kings converted on theirs, producing four consecutive goals to break open a tight game.

Corona del Mar Coach John Vargas praised his team's defensive effort, especially from the two-meter defenders.

"Thad Buzolich, Adrian Strelzow and Kevin Tucker were great defensively," Vargas said. "I'm extremely pleased."

Goalkeeper Doug Jetton also came up big, making 13 saves.

After Foothill's Brian Brown scored to tie it, 2-2, the Sea Kings converted on the first of their man-advantage situations when James Palda beat goalkeeper Ryan Brown with 1:12 left in the second quarter.

Palda scored his second goal on a lob shot with seven seconds left in the half to give Corona del Mar a 4-2 lead.

Two more Foothill ejections produced two goals for the Sea Kings, one by Buzolich in the third quarter and another by Palda with 3:56 left to play, giving the Sea Kings a 6-2 lead.

The Knights (22-6) converted on only one of five man-advantage opportunities.

In the other semifinal:

Long Beach Wilson 8, San Clemente 6--Adam Wright had a goal and assisted on seven others as the third-seeded Bruins won at Saddleback College.

After Wilson took a 2-0 lead, the score was tied twice: 3-3 at halftime and 5-5 at the end of three quarters.

The Bruins broke the tie when Wright lofted a pass to Micah Miller who scored his second goal with 3:59 remaining.

San Clemente caught Wilson with two minutes remaining when Andy Bailey forced a turnover at mid-pool, broke away and skipped his fourth goal past Nick Hill.

However, Wright set up Keith Feldman for the go-ahead goal with 1:08 left and then fed Rick Westover for another in the closing seconds.

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