Written by Alex Betts
Photos by Thomas Forman
Despite enjoying success in the Marina-Corona tournament over the weekend, boys’ water polo was defeated 10-8 by Notre Dame on Wednesday, September 13. Notre Dame’s suffocating defense and ability to capitalize on turnovers was the main reason for its victory against the Tigers. South Pas could not establish a consistent offensive rhythm throughout the game, as many errant passes resulted in a lack of possession.
Early on in the first quarter, freshman goalie Liam Markus made his impact known with a sprawling goal line save. Soon after, freshman Anthony Felix stole the ball and fired a bullet past Notre Dame’s goalie into the bottom right corner, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead. However, the momentum would quickly swing in the Knights’ favor, who totaled three consecutive goals off of forced turnovers. Markus replied with more brilliant blocks before freshman Dominic Kline launched an accurate strike to the top right corner as the buzzer sounded.
After another Notre Dame goal extended the Knights’ lead to 4-2, Kline rifled a penalty shot into the bottom left corner to cut the deficit to a goal. The squads traded scoring chances before another South Pas turnover enabled a Notre Dame breakaway and goal. Looking for a successful strategy to crack Notre Dame’s defense, the SPHS coaching staff made nearly a full lineup change with under 90 seconds remaining in the half. The adaptation quickly yielded results; Felix fed a short but effective pass to senior Gabe Davidson, who managed to push the ball past the Knights’ goalie. The half ended with the Tigers trailing 5-4.
South Pas carried its momentum into the third quarter, as an impressive steal and cut to the net by senior Owen Carlson enabled another penalty shot conversion by Kline. This time around, Kline rocketed a skipping shot that hit the bottom right corner before rattling to the top of the goal. Seconds later, freshman Eddie Lane-Flanigan gave the Tigers their second lead of the game when he fired an incredible strike into the top right portion of the net. Unfortunately for South Pas, the Knights’ regained their focus and demonstrated their offensive abilities. Several well-placed shots swayed the momentum in the Knights’ favor. When the buzzer signaled the end of the third quarter, the score had flipped to 8-6.
In the beginning of the fourth period, the Knights demonstrated their rising confidence with two quick, quality goals. A nice spinning shot by Lane-Flanigan decreased the deficit to three, but jarring defense by the Knights prevented the Tigers from getting a shot off. With 48 seconds remaining in the game, senior Alex Fonseca launched a goal to the left side of the net. Unfortunately, the last efforts were futile due to time constraints, and the game finalized with a score of 10-8.
“I think we played very well. We still have to work on closing out and finishing. Notre Dame is a really good team, but I think we could’ve still competed and beat them by a lot,” said senior captain Jasper Lee.
Boys’ water polo will begin playing against league opponents on Tuesday, September 26, at home versus Blair.