By Steve Breazeale
The Dana Hills boys water polo team found themselves in a unique situation when they played host to South Coast League opponent Tesoro on Oct. 7. It had been just five days after they battled the Titans on the road, a game the Dolphins won. In just a short turnaround, they had to prepare for the re-match.
But the second meeting between the two teams had the same outcome, as the Dolphins powered their way past the visitors in a 17-6 victory.
Dana Hills (8-7, 3-0 league) has now won four consecutive games.
The Dolphins made their intentions clear from the get go, playing with an aggressive counter attack and defensive scheme. Long outlet passes from goalie Riley Zachary led to one on one situations for sophomore attacker Jack McLaughlin, who buried home back to back shots in the first period to make it 2-0. McLaughlin would add one more to his tally and senior Marko Asic scored twice to give the Dolphins a 5-0 lead at the end of the first.
The Dana Hills defense denied Tesoro inside, forcing low percentage shots from the perimeter. The Dolphins out-shot the Titans 9-3 in the opening period.
Tesoro made a push late in the second, following two unanswered goals from seniors Quinn Gates and Connor Suggs that made it 8-4 at halftime.
Both teams played the counter attack strategy in the third period, but Dana Hills proved to be the tighter unit, erupting for another 5-0 run that put the game out of reach. In the midst of the back and forth action, Zachary, and his foil, Tesoro keeper Richard Ram, exchanged highlight reel saves. Zachary finished the game with 12 saves, including five in the third period.
With Zachary making saves, the Dolphins offense kept on scoring.
“I thought we stopped moving the ball as well (in the second period) … and we allowed them to gain some confidence,” Dana Hills head coach Matt Rosa said. “And we just came out in the third, really stressed sharing the ball, moving the ball side to side. It worked great. I thought we had guys open all game long, even until the fourth quarter.”
The Dolphins will now travel to play against San Clemente on Oct. 14 in a crucial league match for both teams.