To Newport Harbor Coach Robert Lynn, the second-half collapse was nothing new.
"We've been trying to change that the whole year," Lynn said. "We have a good first half, and then ... the guys felt tight under pressure again. It seems like we were thinking about using the time, instead of attacking."
The Sailors got another great chance to even the score with a minute to go. Stevens, a senior co-captain who was praised by CdM's players for playing through a ruptured left eardrum, stole the ball and found Fink on the counter.
But CdM's Trush stayed in position behind Fink, with his arms up, and teammate Danny Marshall got there to steal the ball.
Newport Harbor got one last chance with 32 seconds left, calling timeout after Lee stole the ball near mid-pool. But a pass from Ryan Warde inside to Stevens was picked off by Chase, and CdM was able to run the clock out after that.
"I fouled Warde," Chase said. "I knew he was going throw it in, so I just hustled back and stole the ball. Jack [Harryman] did a great job containing."
Chase scored a game-high four goals for the Sea Kings, also including a quick lob shot from the left. Harryman (two steals), Marshall, Trush and Watson all had field blocks, and McKenzie made four saves. Chase and junior Matt Sherburne each drew two exclusions.
"Honestly, what got us back in the second half was our two-meter men," Watson said. "They never stopped working. Sherburne had an awesome game. He played out of his mind and stepped up big. He's a junior, and he played like he's been here many times before. Armen and Ty, they were having rough games, but just the fact that they never stopped swimming and never stopped trying was huge for us."
Fink had three goals and drew three exclusions for the Sailors. Warde also had a goal and two field blocks, and Stevens finished with three steals. Grove played set defense most of the night for the Sailors, and he had a pair of steals.
CdM now has a couple of days to try to figure out Mater Dei. Coach Chris Segesman's Monarchs will come into Wednesday night's semifinal on a 77-match winning streak, a Southern Section record.
"It's a great matchup," O'Dea said. "They're really good, and we have nothing to lose. Obviously, we've got to be creative and find a way to beat this team. They're pretty dang tough. As Chris says, 'Pick your poison,' so we're going to find which poison hopefully works best for us. It should be exciting."