Boys’ water polo wins crucial league match in comeback fashion

Photo by Tony Chen
Staff Photographer

Boys’ water polo took home a momentous win by a close 11-10 score against their biggest competition in league, the Temple City Rams, on Thursday, October 4. Temple City defeated South Pas last year in overtime and was later titled the 2017-2018 league champions, making the victory a satisfying reward for the Tigers’ hard work this offseason.

Temple City showed off their strength with an early score in the opening quarter, however, a foul led to sophomore Eddie Lane-Flannigan tying the scoreboard not long after. The Tigers initially struggled as Temple City showcased a commendable defense, swiftly covering the South Pas offense even after multiple repositionings. The Rams managed to shoot powerful shots that soared above the reach of the Tiger defense, leading to two goals. However, Lane-Flannigan again launched an impressive skip shot down the middle of the pool and straight into the net. The Rams held a one point lead at the end of the first quarter with a 3-2 tally.

After Temple City took the first goal of the second quarter, sophomore Maven Palacios landed the ball into the top of the goal, right above the opposing goalie’s reach. Interceptions by Temple City players made it difficult to coordinate plays. However, freshman Egan Hadsell-Florin finally made a break in the Ram’s defense, executing an infallible toss over their heads for a score. Lane-Flannigan wasted no time mimicking the same tactic and placed another lob past the goalie. Low skip shots and effective passing by the Rams caught the Tigers off guard, ending the quarter at a 7-5 advantage for Temple City.

South Pas’s first possession in the third quarter sent them into action. Saving close scores from tough angles, sophomore goalie Liam Markus ended the Temple City streak of scores. A few plays later, freshman Owen Imasaki skip shotted from the side and landed a goal under the Tiger’s name. Tension went through the roof as Markus was ejected, leaving the goal defenseless midway through Temple City’s possession of the ball. Fortunately for South Pas, a Ram foul saved them in the nick of time. Sophomore Anthony Felix shot into the upper left corner of the net, while Lane-Flannigan dashed in and scored without an enemy defender around. Steals from both teams’ defenses kept the two programs neck and neck, ending the quarter tied at eight.

The pressure was on for both teams to surpass the other in the final quarter. Imasaki faked out the Temple City goalie up close and gave the advantage to South Pas, leaving the crowd in cheers. Markus continued to defend with sturdy blocks against harrowing shots by the Ram’s most brawny players. A long pass inside to Blix-Hadsell Florin was almost pushed into the goal, but was stolen after Hadsell-Florin was drowned from three Temple City players. The Rams retaliated against the Tigers with robust skip shots and a rapid amount of passes that narrowly made it past Markus. Once again, the score was tied 10-10. However, another exceptional skip shot by Lane-Flannigan turned the tide of the game and ultimately was the final goal that secured the Tiger’s win. With only twenty seconds on the clock, Temple City pushed hard, but Markus blocked a powerful throw with six seconds left to spare. As the buzzer rang, the bleachers stood in applause for the official win for South Pas by a final score of 11-10.

“Even aside from great performances [by South Pas’s underclassmen players], it was a team effort and everyone was able to secure the win,” junior team captain Evan Kowal said. “This is only the third game we’ve played in league though and we will keep working hard.”

With five more games to go, the Tiger team now boasts an undefeated record of 3-0 in league. Boys’ water polo will face off against Monrovia in their away game on Tuesday, October 9.

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