Goalie Max Sandberg helps Newport Harbor stymie Foothill

Goalie Max Sandberg came through for the Newport Harbor boys water polo team not once but twice at Foothill on Wednesday.

The senior blocked two 5-meter penalty shots to help the No. 4 Sailors defeat the No. 6 Knights, 7-4, in an early-season clash between potential Elite 8 playoff teams.

The 6-foot-2 Sandberg blocked his first 5-meter shot in the opening period to preserve a 2-0 lead. He stopped another penalty shot in the third to keep the score, 4-4.

The Sailors soon capitalized with the go-ahead goal and improved to 3-0.

“I know my team needs me to make a save there, so I had to,” said Sandberg, who finished seven blocks overall.

Sandberg’s second block loomed significant since Foothill (4-1) had recovered from an early deficit, 3-0, and had a chance to take its first lead. Foothill’s JT Miller drew the penalty with just under four minutes left in the third after stealing the ball from Sandberg near the goal.

“I thought Max stepped up,” Newport Harbor coach Ross Sinclair said. “The boys trust him and I think everyone expected him to block those shots.”

Sandberg and Newport Harbor held Foothill to a 1-for-6 effort on the power play. The Sailors scored six of their seven goals with the extra attacker and finished 6 for 9 overall.

“They were just a little crisper than we were,” Foothill coach Jim Brumm said.

Ryan Brosnan scored the go-ahead goal with 3:20 left in the third on an exclusion drawn on a drive by Makoto Kenney. About two minutes later in the third, Kenney, a rising sophomore, finished another drive with a hard, cross-cage shot to make it 6-4.

Kenney and Jack White each scored twice for Newport Harbor while Joseph Molina netted two goals for Foothill.

In other nonleague games:

No. 2 Mater Dei 14, No. 7 Corona del Mar 10: Jack Seybold scored seven goals for the visiting Monarchs (6-1), who pulled away in the fourth period.

No. 5 Santa Margarita 9, Dana Hills 8: Yurian Quinones scored five goals as the host Eagles (7-1) avoided the upset.

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