Playoff hopes ended with a league final loss

Playoff hopes ended with a league final loss

Eric Wong

With an 11-6 loss to the Gunn Titans, the boys water polo team no longer has a chance to qualify for CCS

With a chance to qualify for CCS at stake, the boys water polo team entered the SCVAL league championship tournament on Nov. 5 with a must-win situation. The fact that they lost to Homestead on Oct. 22 meant they would have to play a tougher opponent, the Gunn Titans, for bracket play.

Junior Alex Bagdasarian reaches high to score a goal with the shot clock running low as #6 of the Gunn Titans attempts to block him.  Photo by Emily Vu.  For the bulk of the first half, the score remained tied at three goals apiece. The Titans rallied during the second half to score a barrage of goals, giving them a five-goal lead that they never surrendered, ending the night with a 11-6 win over the visiting Matadors.

The Matadors, who last won a CCS championship in 1980, came out strong in the beginning, with goals from junior Nick Sinzig, junior Sean Hughes and senior captain Jubin Honarvar.

However, the potent Titan offense scored four unanswered goals in the third period, placing the Titans in a 7-3 lead and prompting coach Ron Freeman to call a timeout. 

"The best way to deal with being down [on goals] is to just keep playing," Hughes said. "As a team, we let it get away from us." 

The Titans scored two more goals before junior Alex Bagdasarian, who was named MVP for the varsity team as a sophomore, sparked the Matadors to mount a comeback with his first goal of the night, bringing the score to 9-4 with the Titans still in the lead.

"I got some points when we had a man-up.  They would put a guy on me, but when he made a mistake, I found a way to score," Bagdasarian said.

Sophomore Cameron Yates found the back of the net with a tip-in from Sinzig’s pinpoint pass to start off the fourth period. As the Matadors began to find their rhythm, Bagdasarian ripped another shot straight into the cage, scoring his second goal of the night to cut down the Titans’ lead to three goals. Though this turn of events prompted the Titans’coach to call a timeout, the Matadors would bring the score no closer as the Titans came right back, scoring two more goals.

The night ended in disappointment for the Matadors with a 11-6 loss to the Titans though junior goalie Andrew Sabour made a big stop on a Titans breakaway in the final minute.

"We played really hard [tonight], but we made mistakes that gave them the opportunities to score," Freeman said.  "[When we were down], we tried and pushed too hard so we gave up easy goals coming back the other way."

The boys water polo team finished out the tournament on Friday, Nov. 6 with games against Homestead and Palo Alto.