Second-half stops key to Pasadena Poly water polo win over Flintridge Prep
Pasadena Poly Panthers allow one second-half goal in 10-4 defeat of Flintridge Prep Rebels.
Pasadena Poly's Dennis Grover looks to pass under pressure from #8 Diego Delgado of Flintridge Prep. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer / October 19, 2012)
Pasadena Poly put forth arguably one of its best defensive efforts on Friday afternoon during a key Prep League road match against rival Flintridge Prep.
Locked in a tight battle, Pasadena Poly yielded only one second-half goal to record a convincing 10-4 victory and move the Panthers a step closer to another league championship.
Pasadena Poly (18-2, 7-0 in league) and Flintridge Prep (13-8, 4-3) were knotted at 3 at halftime before the Panthers' defense went to work and swarmed the Rebels.
“I thought our defense was consistent for all four quarters,” said Pasadena Poly Coach Ryan Katsuyama, whose team is ranked No. 3 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll and swept the two head-to-head season meetings against the Rebels. “We applied a lot of pressure and tried to make them shoot from the perimeter.
“We were able to get some steals and counter-attacks. When we are able to do that, we feel like we can outlast a lot of teams we play.”
By comparison, Pasadena Poly, which posted a 14-5 home victory against Flintridge Prep on Sept. 29, received seven second-half goals.
The Panthers, who advanced to the division championship match last season, received a big effort from Chris McWilliams. The senior driver finished with a match-best four goals and helped the Panthers build a two-match lead over second-place Webb with three league matches left for each team.
“We came in expecting another tough game from them and we got it,” said McWilliams, who scored a pair of goals in each half. “Flintridge Prep came out hard against us early in the game and I thought we were able to make the adjustments [at halftime] and our defense was a huge part of our game in the second half.
“We had to play hard defensively against Ethan [Vandeventer] and John [Treinen] and drop down on them. We go into each game knowing the other team will be shooting for us. Every game, we seem to have another player step up.”
Flintridge Prep received three goals from Treinen, who recently transferred from Loyola and didn't participate in the first meeting against the Panthers.
Treinen, a junior driver, proved to be a force early on for the Rebels, ranked No. 5 in the division.
He scored on a pair of man-advantage opportunities in the first quarter to stake Flintridge Prep to a 2-1 lead with 2:32 left.
Pasadena Poly took a 3-2 lead with 2:21 left in the second quarter on a goal by McWilliams before the Rebels responded on a goal by Sean King to knot it at 3 with 1:05 left in the first half.
Flintridge Prep Coach Dan Hare said he felt confident that the Rebels could stay close with the Panthers entering the second half.
“It's a game that we wanted to try to keep them under seven goals,” Hare said. “We have usually found a way to win when we can do that, but Poly is such a fundamentally sound team that's well-coached and I have the utmost respect for Ryan.
“They are the team we want to beat because they are good for our league, division and the San Gabriel Valley. They adjusted very well in the second half.”
Pasadena Poly scored four goals in the third quarter to build a 7-3 advantage. Kelly McGee gave the Panthers a 4-3 lead with a man-advantage goal with 5:40 remaining. Spencer Rogers scored two goals in a row less than three minutes apart to extend the lead to 6-3. Luke Asperger closed out the scoring with five seconds remaining in the third quarter to make it 7-3.
McWilliams scored two straight goals early in the fourth quarter to make it 9-3 and Brock Hudnut made it 10-3 with 2:47 left before Treinen completed the scoring with 2:38 to play.
“I think we have plenty of balance with our six starters,” Katsuyama said. “Chris stepped it up and gave us that cushion.
“[Treinen] is a big guy who can post up and he's not afraid to shoot. He's a nice player for them to have and we came in concerned about him.”
Pasadena Poly goalkeeper Josh Ball finished with seven saves. Flintridge Prep goalkeeper Brian Khin collected 10 saves.