BOYS WATER POLO CCS: Close defeat in overtime

Senior Brendan Duffy and junior Anton Abramson practice before the CCS match. Their season ended with a loss of 14-15 in their first round CCS match on Nov. 6. Photo by Margaret Lin.

Senior Brendan Duffy and junior Anton Abramson practice before the CCS match. Their season ended with a loss of 14-15 in their first round CCS match on Nov. 6. Photo by Margaret Lin.

Karen Feng

Matadors lose 14-15 to LHS despite replay, end season

Senior Brendan Duffy and junior Anton Abramson practice before the CCS match. Their season ended with a loss of 14-15 in their first round CCS match on Nov. 6. Photo by Margaret Lin.

Despite a five-point lead in the first half, the seventh-seeded Matadors lost their edge as tenth-seeded Lynbrook High School closed the gap to defeat them in overtime. The Matadors ended their season with a 14-15 loss in the first round of CCS matches at Mountain View High School on Nov. 6.

The Vikings burst out the gate with a shot flying past goalie senior Owen Hardee’s head thirty seconds into the first period. The rest of the quarter, however, continued smoothly for the Matadors as consistent blocking by Hardee and aggressive offense and defense by the field players kept LHS in check. Consecutive goals by junior Rahul Madarahalli and sophomore Evert Duffy gave MVHS a 2-1 lead with four minutes left in the quarter and junior Colin Hong widened it with a quick offensive attack to score another clear shot with 2:57 left on the clock.

A successful penalty shot by the Vikings closed the lead to 3-2. However, Hong and senior Omer Yosef took back the momentum with two more shots. A successful penalty shot by senior Brendan Duffy closed the quarter at 6-2 with 27 seconds left on the clock.

MVHS continued dominating in the second quarter as an aggressive defensive strategy consistently forced the Vikings to turn over possession after unsuccessful 30 second plays. Assisted by Hong, Yosef made another shot with 4:46 left in the period. After calling a timeout with two minutes left, LHS continued play reinvigorated to make their third goal. The Matadors, however, fought back point for point as Hong passed to Brendan Duffy to overcome the Vikings’ aggressive defense for a backhand shot with 1:34 to go for five-point lead of 8-3.

LHS came back in the third quarter with aggressive offense to begin closing the gap with 5:38 on the clock. Overly aggressive defense by the Vikings, however, allowed the Matadors another successful penalty shot by Brendan Duffy and Madarahalli assisted Yosef for another point. LHS went on a scoring streak after successfully scoring a penalty shot of its own rebounded off a post, gradually reducing the Matadors’ lead with a score of 9-8 with just over a minute left in the quarter. The Matadors punctuated the streak with their own goal as Hong passed to senior Jeffrey Lee for a shot that the Vikings’ goalie touched by could not block for a score of 10-8 with less than half a minute left. Yosef was ejected for three exclusion fouls before the end of the period, which ended with five goals by LHS and two goals by MVHS as the tide continued to turn.

“We came out really well,” Hong said. “But we only have five starters and two of our starters got kicked out of the game; that’s when it all fell apart.”

After calling a timeout, the Vikings closed the gap, tying MVHS 10-10 with over three minutes left. MVHS came back and began to reestablish a lead with just under two minutes to go as Lee and Hong put away two goals for a score of 12-10. But two corner shots by the Vikings with one minute left retied the game for a score of 12-12, forcing MVHS to call a timeout with 0:39 on the clock. Both teams desperately tried to force a tiebreak and LHS prevailed with a deep shot with just 0.8 seconds left for a loss of 12-13.

“We had a good first half and we were up by 5,” head coach Ben Vierra said. “But then we got a few bad calls our way and players got kicked out and we had to bring bench players in, and they did a pretty good job, but we couldn’t keep the lead.”

Vierra contested the call, citing a clock malfunction that would invalidate LHS’s final shot, and the final 25 seconds of the game were replayed, this time with Hardee successfully blocking the Vikings’ shot and pushing the game into overtime with a score of 12-12.

The Vikings and Matadors fought back shot for shot. When LHS pulled ahead with a point over halfway through the first three-minute half, Lee assisted Brendan Duffy to try to close the gap for a score of 13-14 with half a minute left. The attempt failed, however, and the Vikings scored with 13 seconds left to make the game 13-15 in the first half.

The Matadors continued to push for a win for a chance to play second seeded St. Francis in the quarterfinals. However, the single goal by Lee half a minute into the final half was not enough as aggressive defense and strong goaltending by the Vikings frustrated an MVHS comeback. The game ended with a score of 14-15.

“The season had its ups and downs,” Evert Duffy said. “We did worse than normal; we started out good, but then we kind of let it slip during the fourth quarter.”

The Matadors held a 15-9 record during the league season.

“As a whole, I think our season was good,” Vierra said. “They won two more games than last year’s team, and they got to the same round in CCS, and they would’ve liked to gone farther, but it was a really good team. They all worked hard and it was all business with them. I’m looking forward to next year and seeing if we can get a little better each year.”