Story by Cloe Maurer
Associate Feature Editor
Photos by Katelyn Hernandez
Boys water polo defeated San Marino for a second time this season, 9-4, Tuesday, Oct. 29. A five-goal surge in the first quarter carried the Tigers to a victory, maintaining their perfect 7-0 Rio Hondo League record.
The Tigers got off to an unusually slow start, allowing the Titans to score right out of the gate. However, South Pas’ aggressive offense to turned the tide around. Junior Eddie Lane-Flannigan glided to left of the opposing keeper and attacked with a close range shot, scoring the Tigers’ first goal of the game.
San Marino fought back hard and South Pas searched for opportunities to outsmart them. The Tigers utilized fast, short passes to stay ahead of the defense and maintain possession of the ball.
Quick passing maneuvers between senior Evan Kowal and junior Anthony Felix distracted the Titans from sophomore Owen Imasaki. Imasaki slipped behind the defense, popped up close to the goal, and brought the Tigers up 4-2.
The Tigers displayed excellent teamwork and coordinated a unified offense. With constant ball movement, South Pas whipped the ball around the pool, probing the defense and searching for open gaps. They found Kowal for a fast shot after a prolonged series of passes close to the net and Kowal score the fifth Tiger goal.
The two teams were deadlocked in the middle of the pool and the scoreboard was kept at a standstill for the second quarter. San Marino increased its defensive intensity, but was unable to generate any shots that would test junior keeper Liam Markus. The second quarter ended as a scoreless physical battle with neither team able to do much.
With the scoreboard still 5-2 midway through the third quarter, the Tigers finally broke the standstill. The swarming South Pas defense suffocated San Marino and sophomore Lucas Abrahamian sneaked up behind a Titan player and wrestled the ball from his grip. The Tigers took this opportunity and ran with it. Imasaki hustled the ball up to the goal and slammed in his second goal of the game.
The Tigers began the last quarter with an impressive passing sequence. Fast passes and fakes kept the ball away from San Marino until Lane-Flannigan spotted a hole in the Titan defense and skipped it in low and fast into the net, making the score 8-3.
With most of the team father down the pool on offense, Markus helped preserve the lead in the fourth quarter; he was an unwavering last line of defense and kicked off multiple offensive sequences with intelligent passes. Kowal scored the last goal of the game and ended it with a final score of 9-4.
“I’m really proud of the team’s performance today. We were able to execute and get the win on Senior Day,” Kowal said.
South Pas look to finish the season undefeated on Wednesday, Oct. 30, when they face Temple City. In order to ensure a league title and avoid tiebreakers, the Tigers must win on the road against the 6-1 Rams.