CORONA DEL MAR (25-4) VS. FOOTHILL (25-3)
Site, time: William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center, 5 p.m.
Outlook: The second-seeded Knights (ranked No. 1 in the county) are 2-0 against No. 3 seeded Corona del Mar. Foothill posted a 9-7 victory at the early-season Holiday Cup before Greek transfers Stephania and Ioanna Haralabidis, pictured above, became eligible and a 6-5 triumph in the semifinals of the recent Irvine SoCal tournament.
In the SoCal match, Foothill played without standout Cana Manzella, a U.S. junior team player who was ill. Corona del Mar has been working on coming together as a team and will need a united effort to sink Foothill. Led by strong efforts from freshman Maddie Musselman, goalie Erica Weed and Stephania Haralabidis, the Sea Kings showed good chemistry in a quarterfinal victory against Los Al.
“I think that the last time we played against them, in the quarterfinals of the Irvine tournament, they really realized that they could come together and that’s when they started playing a lot more like a team,” Los Al senior Stephanie Mutafyan said of the Sea Queens.
The senior-laden Knights are deep and well-balanced on offense and defense. USC-bound senior Nikki Stansfield has emerged as a standout but Foothill has several experienced players.
“They’ve a very good opponent,” Stephania Haralabidis said of Foothill. “We really, really want this. I don’t think anybody can stop us when we want something.”
Last season, Corona del Mar edged Foothill, 10-9, in the Division 1 semifinals behind five goals from then-senior Diana Murphy.
Photo courtesy of Martin Klein