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Water Polo

Jordan Hayes Makes Big Plays Down Stretch to Give Santa Barbara a 10-9 Win Over Santa Ynez

Jordan Hayes shoots Click to view larger
Jordan Hayes of Santa Barbara fires the game-winning shot to beat Santa Ynez, 10-9. (Courtesy photo)

Santa Ynez had been getting its hands on Santa Barbara High shots all game long in their Channel League boys water polo showdown for third place on Thursday.

But the Pirates couldn’t touch the final shot of the game from Jordan Hayes. 

With the score tied at 9 and the shot clock down to two seconds, Hayes fired from the perimeter on top and the ball got past everyone and ended up in the back of the net for a 10-9 lead with 15 seconds left

Jordan then added a cherry on top of his big goal by blocking Henry Allen’s game-tying attempt from about 5 meters, and Santa Barbara eked out the victory in the regular-season finale.

Hayes got the opportunity to take the shot because of Santa Ynez's defense.

"They were pressing him pretty hard, so he wasn’t to make the pass to the guy he was supposed to," Dons coach Mark Walsh said. "They got into a drop — they were in a heavy drop all game long cause Julian Bacon is a such a force. They basically double teamed him all game, so they left people open all game long for us. But we had a really hard time scoring today.  None of our outside shooters didn’t really have good games, but (Jordan) did a nice job finding his open spot, he attacked it well and did good job.

"If he would have missed, they would have had a 2 on 1 and they would have won the game. We were pretty fortunate."

The Dons have been involved in games that have gone down to the wire this season

On the winning shot, Hayes said he saw the opening and didn't hesitate in taking it.

"I knew I had it because (the goalie) was on the other side," he said

On his big shot block: "I was guarding set and then I was shot blocking and I blocked the top," he said.

Santa Barbara finishes 3-2 in league and will play sixth-place Lompoc in the first round of the Channel League Tournament on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., at the Lompoc Aquatics Center. Fourth-place Santa Ynez (2-3) will take on fifth-place Cabrillo in the other first-round game at 2:30 p.m.

First-place Dos Pueblos and second-place San Marcos receive first-round byes. In the semifinals on Wednesday, Dos Pueblos plays the Santa Ynez-Cabrillo winner at 4:30, while San Marcos takes on the Santa Barbara-Lompoc winner at 5:30.

Placement games will be played Thursday, starting at 2:30 with the fifth-place game.  The championship set for 5 p.m.

Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez were in a tight battle from the start at the SBHS pool.

The Dons broke a 5-5 tie in the second period with two goals in the last 23 seconds to take a 7-5 halftime advantage. Adam Kubinyi drew a major penalty at two meters and Dylan Fogg converted the penalty shot for a 6-5 lead.

Hayes stole the ball on Santa Ynez’s possession, drew a foul and started a two-on-one break with Fogg. Fogg made a return pass to Hayes for the finish, putting the Dons up by two at the break.

Goalie Hunter Brownell made a save for the Dons on a Santa Ynez power play early in the third period, but Clayton Davidson converted for the Pirates on another man advantage for the Pirates.

Shot blocking from Santa Ynez defenders and saves by goalie Drake Clark kept it a one-goal game until Bronson Blix of the Dons grabbed a rebound of a blocked shot and scored to put them up 8-6 with 21 seconds left in the third period.

Santa Ynez answered on a terrific goal by Keller Haws. Tightly guarded, he managed to angle his body to the left and fire a shot past Brownell to make it an 8-7 game going into the fourth period.

The Pirates tied the score on a wild sequence early in the fourth period. 

Brownell came out of the goal area on a long Santa Ynez pass. There was contact from a Santa Ynez player but no call from the official. The ball was flipped to Allen, who was streaking down the middle of the pool, and he scored to tie the game at 8-8.

The Pirates’ defense staved off a two-man power play by the Dons and Haws scored at the other end for a 9-8 lead.

"I know that our guys can play," Santa Ynez coach Jake Kalkowski said. "I was happy to see them step up to their potential. We’ve been underperforming a bit this year. Games against DP and San Marcos, I don’t think we were at our best.

"In this game I was happy with the perseverance we had and I was really happy with our defense. We stopped them quite few times on their 6 on 5 and on couple of 6 on 4s they had. Our goalie Drake Clark had a great game."

Hayes tied the score for Santa Barbara with 2:12 left, as his shot snuck under the arm of Clark at the near post.

"You want to get those back, but (the ball) rolled the other way and we couldn’t do too much," said Kalkowski.

Clark, however, came up big on a Santa Barbara power play with 59 seconds left. 

But Santa Barbara’s defense came through down the stretch, and Hayes stepped up and made his two huge plays to give the Dons another narrow victory.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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