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    JSerra boys water polo surges past Newport Harbor in second half to win North-South Challenge
    • October 15, 2023

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    JSerra’s boys water polo team used a strong second half Saturday in Northern California to claim its third major tournament of the regular season and send Ryder Dodd off to the U.S. national team on an impressive note.

    The Lions outscored Newport Harbor by three goals in the third period and two in the fourth to defend its title at the North-South Challenge with a 15-9 victory at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton.

    Dodd scored three of his four goals in the third quarter as the Lions (22-0), ranked No. 1 in Orange County, turned a 7-6 lead at intermission into a 12-8 advantage going in the fourth.

    The USC commit, who also tallied four assists in the championship match, had plenty of support. Princeton-commit Tas Palcza and rising junior Taylor Bell also scored in the third period, and each attacker added a goal in the fourth.

    Dodd soon departs with the U.S. national team for the Pan American Games, which begin Oct. 30 in Chile against Mexico. The Americans need to capture the tournament to quality for the Paris Olympics next summer.

    Dodd plans to rejoin the Lions before the CIF-SS Open Division semifinals on Nov. 8.

    Newport Harbor (19-3), ranked second in Orange County, suffered a blow in the third period when attacker Connor Ohl fouled out.

    JSerra led 7-6 at halftime behind five goals — all from center — from Stanford-committed Will Schneider. The senior snapped a 6-6 tie with 33 seconds left in half.

    Newport Harbor led 2-0 and 4-3 late in the first period. The Sailors shot well from the perimeter in the opening half but the Lions’ tightened their defense in the final two periods in front of sophomore goalie Jonas Ransford.

    Newport Harbor’s Gavin Appeldorn and Kai Kaneko connected on perimeter strikes in the second to tie the score at 5-5 ad 6-6.

    JSerra earlier won the South Coast Tournament and the Delfina USA Classic. In the latter, the Lions edged Newport Harbor 10-9 in sudden-death overtime.

    In the semifinals Saturday, JSerra defeated Sacred Heart Prep 14-5 behind three goals apiece by Dodd, Schneider and Bell.

    Newport Harbor advanced to the finals with a 9-6 triumph against Harvard-Westlake behind four goals from UCLA-bound center Peter Castillo.

    Harvard-Westlake edged Sacred Heart Prep 13-12 in the third-place match.

    Please send water polo news to Dan Albano at [email protected] or @ocvarsityguy on X and Instagram

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    ​ Orange County Register