Photos by Thomas Forman
Maintaining its momentum, boys’ water polo overpowered La Cañada on Tuesday, October 10, as South Pas displayed quality offense and defense early on. As the game progressed, the Tigers grew more dominant offensively, ultimately crushing the Spartans’ spirits in the fourth period. The 11-4 victory brings South Pas’ league record to 4-1 and places them in a strong position to qualify for CIF.
From the opening horn, it was obvious that the Tigers were in command of the game. After a missed opportunity by freshman Anthony Felix, junior Philip Lee gripped a rebound and quickly slipped the ball past the La Cañada goalie and into the bottom right edge of the net. The teams would trade possessions until freshman Eddie Lane-Flanigan extended South Pas’ lead with a bullet to the top left corner. South Pas failed to capitalize on another breakaway, enabling the Spartans to counter with a goal off a rebound. Senior Andres Limon made up for the Tigers’ additional offensive errors with an impressive shot to the bottom right corner of the goal. The first period ended with the Tigers holding a 3-1 lead.
The tempo of the game was sluggish for the vast majority of the second period. Both teams were hitting a wall, being unable to convert with the man advantage or capitalize on a quality scoring opportunity. Fortunately, freshman Dominic Kline connected with senior Owen Carlson, who had been slashing through the Spartans’ defense before he brilliantly faked out the La Cañada goalie and fired a shot into the bottom right section of the net. The Spartans managed to counter with seconds left in the first half, throwing a strike to bring the score to 4-2.
The squads continued to exchange scoring chances in the second half, but La Cañada was the first to break through, decreasing the Tigers’ lead to a goal. Sensing the significance of the situation, Philip Lee responded with a key insurance goal while South Pas was on the man advantage. From that point on, the Tigers never looked back. On a breakaway, Lane-Flanigan dipped, dazzled, and deked the Spartan goalie before rifling a strike into the left side of the net. Kline increased the Tigers’ lead to 7-3 in the fourth quarter when he received a pass from senior Jasper Lee and slid the ball past the Spartan goalie. The Tigers and Spartans traded a goal before Lane-Flanigan continued his offensive prowess. Lane-Flanigan launched an impressive penalty skip shot and followed that goal with a high-powered bullet that rocketed past the La Cañada goalie. Capping off the game, sophomore Evan Kowal slipped past the Spartan defense, pushing the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. With Kowal’s goal, South Pas cemented a lopsided 11-4 victory. The game ended with a lopsided score of 11-4.
“I think this was one of our first wins where the whole team played really unified. It was a slow start, but by the last quarter, it finally all clicked together. We finally played as the deep cohesive team we’ve known we were all season,” stated Jasper Lee.
Boys’ water polo will travel to Blair on Thursday, October 12, with high hopes of a victory against the Vikings.