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By Steve Breazeale

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Water Polo Fends Off Surging Tritons in 10-9 Victory

Before he sent his players into the pool for their Oct. 4 matchup with South Coast League rival San Clemente, Dana Hills boys water polo head coach Matt Rosa told his squad to prepare for a battle. That’s exactly what the visiting Dolphins got out of the Tritons.

The Dolphins saw a commanding lead slip away in the second half, struggling against a physical and fast-paced Tritons team and a loud home crowd, but made a stout defensive stand in the fourth quarter to hold on for a 10-9 victory.

The Dolphins’ defense, which held the Tritons to just one goal over the first nine minutes of play, reverted back to that effective style with the game on the line. Tied 9-9 in the fourth, the Dolphins took the lead for good when Adam Cole forced a steal and Bryce Dunn scored on a tough-angle shot at the other end of the pool for a 10-9 advantage. San Clemente (8-6, 1-2 league) tried to push on offense with two minutes remaining, but were smothered by the Dolphins, who forced a shot clock violation and did not allow a shot on goal the rest of the way.

“San Clemente is a good team with good athletes. I was telling my guys this was not going to be a runaway, we were going to have to battle and we did,” Rosa said. “The defense stepped up big. We had some nice stops in the last few minutes for sure.”

San Clemente started its comeback early in the third quarter facing an 8-4 deficit. Senior Sean Edwards led the charge, recording three steals and two goals in the third. Edwards tied the game with seconds left on a spinning move in front of the net that made it 8-8. The Tritons had six steals in the third, a blocked shot in the field, and outscored the visitors 4-1 to set up the final quarter.

The Tritons third-quarter surge felt similar to a run El Toro put together against the Dolphins in both team’s league opener on Sept. 20, Rosa said. Only in that encounter, the Dolphins couldn’t respond fast enough and lost, 12-11. The team has used that game as a learning experience to lean on.

“I thought it might be (like the) El Toro (game) all over again where we’re not responding well, not being composed,” Rosa said. “I said ‘Let’s get our heads back on straight. Let’s get back with the game plan that got us the 8-4 lead and just make plays here in the fourth quarter,’ and we did.”

Edwards led the Tritons with four goals and an assist. The Dolphins had four players score at least twice, and were led by Jack McLaughlin’s three goals. Dana Hills’ goalie Justin Edwards had 10 saves.

Dana Hills was scheduled to play Laguna Beach in a nonleague match on Oct. 6. Results were not available at press time. The team returns to league play against Aliso Niguel on Oct. 11.

Girls, Boys X-C Stand Atop Podium at League Preview Meet

The South Coast League is regarded as one of the most competitive and talented cross country leagues in the Southland. That much was evident on Oct. 5 during the league’s first preview dual meet at Irvine Regional Park.

The leaderboards were tightly bunched, as eight top-10 squads in both the girls and boys categories battled for early-season supremacy.

The Dana Hills girls cross country team flipped the script from last season’s preview meet by taking first this time around. The Dolphins had a disappointing finish at the preview meet in 2015, only to come back and claim first in the league finals a few weeks later. The Dolphins defeated all four teams in dual meet competition on Oct. 5.

Lauren Soto, a sophomore, was the Dolphins top finisher at the meet, posting a third-place time of 17:45.3. Leila Keyvan (18:22.3), Sarah Meng (18:26) and Alyssa White (18:28.9) finished in a tight pack to take sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-place, respectively.

The Dolphins’ boys team packed four runners inside the top-10 to claim victories over all four teams in dual competition. Junior Jack Landgraf took fourth, while seniors Brandon Hough, John Turner and Thomas Wilfert took fifth, eight, and ninth, respectively.

The Dolphins, who are ranked No. 2 in the CIF-SS Division 1 polls, defeated the likes of No. 8 El Toro and No. 10 Trabuco Hills to enforce the fact that they are the team to beat in league.

The Dolphins will prepare for the upcoming Clovis Invitational on Oct. 8 and the Orange Country Championships at Irvine Regional Park on Oct. 15.

After Solid Run Through Tourney, Girls Volleyball Enters League

The Dana Hills girls volleyball team parlayed three consecutive Sea View League victories into a strong run through the Tesoro Classic Tournament last week.

The Dolphins (11-6, 3-0) went 3-2 at the tournament, defeating Canyon, Mission Viejo and rival San Clemente while dropping matches to host-team, and eventual champion, Tesoro and Foothill.

Before heading into the tournament, the Dolphins defeated Mission Viejo, Capistrano Valley and Laguna Hills, respectively, in league play. Dana Hills was scheduled to play a league match against El Toro on Oct. 6. Results were not available at press time.

Football Readies for League Play

After pulling off its first victory in over a year on Sept. 23, the Dolphins football team could not keep the momentum going their way as they lost to Fullerton 50-14 on the road on Sept. 30.

Dana Hills (1-5) will be on a bye this week, and will make its run through the Sea View League on the road against Laguna Hills on Oct. 14.

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