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PLAYOFF ROUNDUP

Nothing Can Slow Rested Royal, 18-5

February 18, 2001|DARIN ESPER

What happens to a water polo team that loses its pool six days before its first playoff game?

Royal High had the answer.

"It was actually a blessing in disguise," said Coach Devin Hurst after the Highlanders trounced Nordhoff, 18-5, Saturday in a Southern Section Division II first-round playoff game at Newbury Park High.

Royal (21-7) usually plays home games at Rancho Simi Community Pool, which was rendered useless when a filter pump broke last Sunday.

Hurst, a first-year walk-on coach who teaches elementary school in the San Fernando Valley, learned of the problem when he arrived at the pool for practice Monday.

Practice was canceled Monday and Tuesday, but Hurst, a Pepperdine graduate, arranged for the Highlanders to practice at the Waves' Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool later in the week.

"The rest was needed, and getting away from each other was needed," Hurst said. "We've been playing together since spring with almost no time off. One week here and one week there."

Said Carrie Karamas, who scored six goals for the Highlanders: "A lot of people were tired of polo, and this was like a four-day weekend. Everybody was totally ready to get back in the pool."

Karamas scored two goals in the first quarter as Royal built a 6-2 lead using fast breaks and pressure defense.

Charlotte Fox provided the first-quarter offense for Nordhoff (11-9) with both of her goals.

Colleen Darley scored four goals for the Highlanders, including two in the second quarter as Royal extended its lead to 10-3.

"I was very pleased with our performance," Hurst said. "We didn't show everything we had [Saturday]."

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