Boys water polo end season with sudden death in CCS quarterfinals, 7-8

Boys water polo end season with sudden death in CCS quarterfinals, 7-8

Emily Vu

Matadors fall short in triple overtime to Serra High School

Matadors fall short in triple overtime to Serra High School. Despite an intense game with three overtimes and a large supporting crowd, the varsity boys water polo team, seeded fifth, was unable to fend off the number four Serra High School team in the CCS quarterfinals, losing in sudden death 7-8 on Nov. 13.  

Center senior Nick Sinzig started off the game with a post in goal, soon to be retaliated by the Serra Pares. Senior Alex Bagdasarian quickly responded, putting the Matadors in the lead again. Both teams presented strong goaltending and press defense, and toward the end of the first quarter Serra was able to tie the game.

“We were able to isolate our two meter men, which is probably one of our best assets. We scored a few times off that,” Bagdasarian said. “But eventually, they were able to figure it out and counter act it…while we had the opportunity those were our key plays.”

The Matadors started the second quarter strong. Sinzig and junior Cameron Yates were quick to crash Serra’s set, stealing the ball resulting in a top high goal by senior Sean Hughes. However, Serra was able to come out strong resulting in a 4-3 at half time. Junior Cameron Yates winds up to take a shot at the cage. The varsity boys waterpolo team played Serra High School for the second round of CCS and lost 7-8 in the golden goal round. Photo by Kevin Tsukii.

Starting the third quarter, sophomore Brendan Duffy was right near the cage when he received a great pass from a teammate but was unable to score. However, in the next play, Bagdasarian capitalized when he saw that the Serra goalie had left his cage, and lobbed the ball straight into the goal to tie the game up 4-4. This goal gave the team momentum, as the players executed both controlled defense and aggressive offense. Sinzig managed to dodge multiple Padre defenders and placed the ball in the cage to put the Matadors in the lead 5-4.

Yates’ momentous block in the middle of the third quarter followed by two blocks from senior Andrew Sabour who read the shot precisely both times gave the Matadors the possession and numerous opportunities to score. Sinzig took advantage of these opportunities and put the Matadors up 6-4 by slamming the ball in the cage right past the goalie after numerous solid passes.

A slip in the Matador defense allowed Serra’s senior Paul Jordan to drive towards the cage and take a shot. Luckily for MVHS, his lob shot hit the cross bar, bouncing straight down avoiding the cage.

Just as the Matadors were about to celebrate their 6-5 lead, Serra’s junior Henry Anstice scored a goal to tie the game with a mere 20 seconds left. In a desperate attempt to score another goal, Yates tried to pass the ball to Bagdasarian but ended up hitting his head and bouncing right past the goal, causing the match to head into overtime.

In the first half of the overtime both teams performed well and took aggressive shots. Within the last few moments of the game, a Padre player took a shot which barely made it into the goal but gave them the lead 7-6.

Another overtime was called, and this time it was in the Matadors’ favor. After a pinpoint pass from a teammate, Hughes was able to locate a free spot in the cage shoot it right in to tie the game up 7-7, forcing a sudden death round.

In the final golden goal round both MVHS and Serra came out strong. The Matadors performed top-notch defense against the determined Padres. However, with less than a minute left, a defensive slip on the Matadors‘ part allowed Serra’s junior Kyle Baker  to backhand the ball past MVHS’ defense and Sabour, ending the Matadors’‘ season.

“We wanted to win and we could have won that game. Of course every game you lose closely will always have one or two calls that were bad by the officials, but that’s just the nature of the game of water polo,” assistant coach Carl said.

Although the Matadors suffered a devastating loss, they played their best game of the season and are determined to bring this fire to next year’s season.

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