By Matt Wakumoto
Assoc. Sports Editor
Photos by Thomas Forman
With the league standings finalizing, boys’ water polo showed little signs of revival in their 11-7 loss to La Cañada on Tuesday, November 1. The game was their second to last of the season, and it further diminishes any chances of a CIF berth for the fourth placed Tigers, who now hold a 4-5 record in league play. The woes that South Pas suffered against La Cañada were similar to the issues that they faced earlier in the year when they lost to the Spartans at home. South Pasadena showed glimpses of their potential throughout the game, however could not fully establish any kind of offense against La Cañada’s starters.
Despite looking dominant in transition, the South Pasadena offense was unable to execute around the goal. The Spartans were quick to bring defenders into two meter range, and disrupt South Pas ball movement. Although South Pasadena’s defense looked tight early in the game, small lapses in their otherwise lockdown press allowed La Cañada to score and leverage momentum. The Tigers finally retaliated on a goal from senior Spencer Gurley, who scored following a long possession in 6-5 coverage. They took the momentum from Gurley’s shot, and applied it to their approach in following possessions. Physical defense from sophomore Philip Lee drew a possession changing foul that assisted senior DJ Myer, who scored in a six on five matchup. Myer continued to lead South Pas, returning a few possessions later and blowing a shot past the La Cañada goalkeeper to tie the game. South Pasadena gave up the lead on the following possession, despite having a significant amount of momentum over the Spartans.
Unfortunately for South Pas, in the midst of a defensive struggle between the two teams, a few key goals from La Cañada were enough to win the game. They opened the third quarter by exchanging a series of scoreless possessions, which tethered tension and importance to every play. Although South Pas looked good in counter attack defense, La Cañada took advantage of every small mistake South Pas made. There was another huge, defining moment a few possessions later, with South Pas controlling the ball in 6-5 coverage. Despite having the one man advantage, a bad pass allowed La Cañada to turn the ball over, and safely avert the threat of a South Pas comeback. Without good motivation, the team withered in their own mistakes. A turnover allowed La Cañada to go up 7-3 in fast break and continue to run the clock out with their overwhelming defense.
South Pas did manage to fight back facing La Cañada subs in the fourth quarter. Down 8-3, Gurley paved through the Spartans’ defense and scored easily against the backup goalie. Junior Gabe Davison made a huge play while fully covered, evading a defender, and misleading the Spartan goalkeeper to cut the lead to 9-5. Lee continued the comeback with a score in loose coverage. Senior Ben Schroeder made South Pas’ final goal in 6-5 to bring the team within two scores in the final minutes of the game. Despite a good effort against the La Cañada bench, South Pas quickly surrendered two goals when Spartan starters entered the game, raising their lead to 11-7.
Boys’ water polo will prepare to close out their season on Thursday, November 4, at home against the Blair Vikings.