Photo by Tony Chen
Varsity boys’ water polo overthrew the Temple City Rams, the previous league victors, in a battle for first place with a final score of 8-5 on Tuesday, October 23. High stakes pushed South Pas to triumph over their biggest competitors, setting up their guaranteed path to the title of Rio Hondo League champions.
South Pas demonstrated their determination to stop all Temple City scoring opportunities with their talented goalie and defensive tactics. Sophomore Liam Markus dove to block formidable shots by the Ram offense throughout the entire first quarter and match, although the Rams held their own key players that continuously stole possession of the ball from South Pas. Late into the first quarter, a Temple City foul on sophomore Eddie Lane-Flannigan lead to a free throw shot and first goal of the quarter for freshman Owen Imasaki. Junior Evan Kowal followed shortly with an impressive steal, dashing to the goal post with no struggles, and finishing over the Temple City goalie to assure a score for the Tigers. The first quarter concluded in a lead for South Pas, 2-0.
Markus continued his streak of sturdy blocks from Ram shots, giving freshman Blix Hadsell-Florin time to attempt a lob that narrowly missed the inside of the net. Soon after, a Temple City foul allowed Lane-Flannigan to score a free throw. However, the Tiger’s opponents quickly retaliate with a striking throw that gave the Rams their first goal. Nevertheless, South Pas retained their lead with a score of 3-1 at the half.
Temple City opened the third quarter with newfound coordination, setting up a play around South Pas’s defense that ended with a toss past Markus. The Rams powered through with aggressive shots that had the Tigers on edge, tying the score at three. Freshman Lucas Abrahamian gave the lead back to South Pas through a close outmaneuvering of the Temple City goalie. After an additional score by Imasaki, both teams kept each other on their toes. At the end of the third quarter, South Pas scarcely held their lead at 5-4.
Fatigue was nonexistent for both teams’ players even in the fourth quarter. The Tigers displayed a prowess of coordination, with both Abrahamian and Imasaki aiming successful shots following passes from across each side of the pool. While the Rams managed a goal, sophomore Maven Palacios landed the final score with 30 seconds left in the quarter. South Pas took victory of both the game and first place in league with a tally of 8-5.
Noting the 7-0 record of their run in the Rio Hondo League, the team has taken the time to reflect on their arduous efforts throughout the season and how it has prepared them for their victory.
“Our whole team is a family, and this means putting every one of ourselves last on this team,” team captain Evan Kowal noted. “It hasn’t been easy, but I know that every time I do a hard swim set or wake up early for the weight room, my family will be right there with me and I’ll be right there with them… this is what got us so far.”
Boys’ water polo will play their final game of league against Monrovia on Wednesday, October 24, as they try for a perfect league season.