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Harvard-Westlake Still Can't Keep Pace With Bell Gardens

Division III girls' water polo: Wolverines shoot poorly and are overwhelmed in title-game rematch, 13-2.


LONG BEACH — Harvard-Westlake vs. Bell Gardens was a rematch of the 2000 Southern Section Division III championship game, but it was not a repeat.

Bell Gardens showed the form that 85-game winning streaks are made of Monday at Belmont Plaza, winning its third consecutive girls' water polo title, 13-2, over Harvard-Westlake.

Last year, the Wolverines (19-7) fared much better in a 14-11 loss.

Harvard-Westlake outshot the Lancers (31-1), 32-31. The difference was that Bell Gardens was on target, while Harvard-Westlake's Meg Zepfel and Courtney Quinn made only two of 19 shots.

Harvard-Westlake had seven shots go wide, five hit the goal post and four went over the top of the goal.

"We were cheating [Quinn], sliding down from the wing and sliding down from the top," Bell Gardens Coach Robert Greenamyer said. "We forced them to take shots they didn't want to take, and I think that's why their shots went flying all over the place."

Bell Gardens had won 85 consecutive matches before losing to two-time Division I champion Foothill, 5-4, on Feb. 3.

Jenny Rueda opened the scoring with two goals early for Bell Gardens. Patty Cardenas scored the first of her five goals with 3:07 to play in the first quarter Veronica Baeza scored the first of her four goals with 1:57 left in the quarter.

Quinn scored the first of her two backhand spin goals at 4:39 in the second quarter. A foul by Zepfel with 2:03 left in the first half gave Cardenas an easily converted four-meter penalty shot and Cardenas scored again as time expired with a shot that carried nearly the length of the pool.

"I thought we matched up with them physically, but we don't match up where experience is concerned," said Corso, who will step down as girls' coach as he concentrates on the boys' team and Olympic coaching duties.

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