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The San Clemente boys water polo team lost to Dana Hills 11-7 on Tuesday. Photo by Steve Breazeale
The San Clemente boys water polo team lost to Dana Hills 11-7 on Tuesday. Photo by Steve Breazeale

By Steve Breazeale

For most of Tuesday’s South Coast League match between the San Clemente and Dana Hills boys water polo teams, defense was the name of the game. But a third period offensive push by the home team Dolphins, coupled with the play of their goalie, ensured an 11-7 Dana Hills victory.

The Dolphins (12-6, 4-0 league) defense pressured the Tritons (11-12, 2-2) early, forcing shots to be taken from the perimeter. Outside of an early goal by San Clemente junior Chase Hamming, which made it 1-0, the Tritons did not score another goal until three minutes into the second period. The Dolphins, however, benefitted from five unanswered goals from four different players to take a 5-1 lead.

The Tritons were held in check during that stretch by Dana Hills senior goalie Brody Zachary. Zachary recorded nine straight saves that started after giving up the first-period goal and stretched midway into the second. He would end up with 24 saves on the night.

“He is a great goalie and does a great job,” Dana Hills head coach Matt Rosa said. “When he knows where the shots are coming from, he’s really good and I thought he shut down those shots and knocked them down. I think he did exactly what he was supposed to do.”

The Dolphins put an emphasis on marking San Clemente standouts Drew Papilion and Hamming, the Tritons main offensive weapons. For the most part, the Dolphins defense slowed them down. Papilion and Hamming both netted three goals apiece and were responsible for a late-game flurry. San Clemente was trailing 10-3 with five minutes to go and Papilion and Hamming accounted for three of the Tritons final four goals.

Spencer Likins scored four goals for Dana Hills and Marko Asic contributed three. Asic also had three assists and five steals on the night.

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