Boys water polo wins overtime thriller

Boys water polo wins overtime thriller

Dickson Tsai

 

The Matadors rally to defeat the Mountain View Spartans 12-9


The Matadors are only down by one. They have less than a minute to score. Sophomore Brendan Duffy shoots but the ball rebounds back to him. Desperate, he hurls another shot and this time scores, forcing overtime against Mountain View High School.

After allowing the Spartans to take the lead early in the game, the Matadors fought back from an 8-5 third-quarter deficit with a frantic finish to win 12-9 in overtime. Junior Cameron Yates netted four goals and senior Alex Bagdasarian added three for the Matadors.

Senior Alex Bagdasarian’s shot in the first quarter hits the crossbar. The Matadors eventually rally and emerge victorious 12-9 against Mountain View. Photo by Dickson Tsai.Right from the start, MVHS played with intensity, but their shots were blocked by the opposing goalie and the crossbar. As the quarter progressed, Mountain View scored three unanswered goals to build an early 3-0 lead. The Spartans had a 5-4 lead by halftime.

“[The] first half play was really sloppy,” Yates said. “We weren’t passing well, and we also weren’t playing good defense at all.”

The Matadors’ defensive woes continued in the third quarter. Despite Yates’ two goals, the Spartans remained composed and amassed an 8-6 lead with the help of junior Aaron Lim’s two goals.

“I don’t think [MVHS’s] counterattack was too effective,” Mountain View head coach Dave Blockhus said. “We were able to get down deep, get set, and run the offense.”

In the fourth quarter, the Spartans continued to impede the Matador offense, and the Matadors became more and more desperate. Still without any production from his offense in the fourth quarter, head coach Ron Freeman called a timeout with 4:29 left on the clock to reorganize the team.

With two minutes left, Bagdasarian scored a goal to cut the deficit to one, giving the Matadors hope for catching up to the Spartans — there was still enough time.

Duffy stepped up and delivered a clutch goal for the the Matadors to tie up the game at eight points each and with fifty seconds left in regulation.

“We shut them down pretty much defensively and that’s what the focus was,” Freeman said. “It’s kind of something [the players] should’ve done all game long. They reasserted and refocused themselves.”

The Matador fans were ready to celebrate, but the Spartans provided a real scare as time expired. Shooting from their own goal, their shot at the buzzer almost bounced in, hitting the crossbar before senior goalie Andrew Sabour could hit it away safely.

The Matadors started the first of two overtime periods with the same intensity of the late fourth quarter. Within a minute, Bagdasarian stole the ball from the Spartans and scored to give the Matadors a 9-8 lead. Lim answered back with a goal for the Spartans, but Yates and Bagdasarian retaliated with a goal each to lead 11-9.

“They pressed us, and we had a couple of turnovers,” Blockhus said. “Basically, [MVHS] at that point was up by two goals, wanted it a little bit more, pressed us out, got a couple of steals, and came down to score.”

The lead proved insurmountable for the Spartans in the second overtime period. Senior Sean Hughes ended the game with a goal to extend the score to 12-9.

Yates was satisfied with the win, but he knew that the Matadors should not have dug themselves a hole before the comeback.

“As a whole we need to play better defense,” Yates said. “We got a lot of work ahead of us…we need to step up for playing other teams that are a lot better.”

The Matadors hope to execute their defense when they play Gunn High School on Oct. 13.

 
 
 
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