The pin-point passing of goalie Reggie Robles created several scoring opportunities, and the Dos Pueblos defense played rock solid for most of the game in a 14-10 victory over visiting Brea Olinda in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 2 boys water polo playoffs on Thursday at the Elings Aquatic Center.
The Chargers (23-9) will host Arcadia (26-3) in a quarterfinal game on Saturday at 11 a.m. The game will be part of a Division 2 doubleheader, as San Marcos will face Riverside Poly at 2 p.m.
Robles’ accuracy on counter attacks was Tom Brady-esque. The passes either led to goals in the run of play or penalties against Brea Olinda (16-9). DP senior Jaden Moore tallied three of his game-high six goals on penalty shots.
“We’ve been working on those passes all season,” said Moore. “This was really a great game (by Robles). He’s able to hit our freshmen who love to counter. He’s able to hit great passes, accurate passes, that either lead to five meters (penalty shots) or goals.”
DP coach Chris Parrish said the team started to call the goalie Tom Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“He’s been super accurate,” said the coach. “At the beginning of the year, on a lot of those it would seem like, ‘Oh, there’s a really good chance you might turn the ball over. Why would you go for it?’
“But the way he’s throwing it right now it’s worth the risk considering how accurate he’s been. So, if we can get the ball right in front of the player the way he’s dropping them, it’s almost like a 50-50 chance we’re going to score a goal on that possession. It’s worth the risk.”
Freshmen Grant Nelson, Adam Gelman and Lucas Neushul often were the recipients of Robles’ money passes.
One of his perfect tosses was a back-breaker for Brea Olinda, which broke a goal-less drought in the second period on a restart with 57 seconds left.
The Wildcats got another look at goal but Robles made the save. (He had 20 in the game.) With time running out in the period, he threw a dime to Nelson who drew a penalty with one second left on the clock. Moore stepped up a buried the 5-meter penalty shot for an 8-2 lead at the break.
Dos Pueblos’ defense was brilliant in the first half as Brea Olinda struggled to get the ball inside. The Wildcats scored the game’s first goal on a shot by Landen Templeton from long distance.
Parrish said his team was familiar with the Wildcats as they were basically the same group the Chargers beat in the second round last year, 9-8.
“We knew their personnel pretty well. We prepared ourselves really well.”
Moore added: “We remembered who their best players were and just tried to put our best matchups on them, and it ended up working out.”
Moore put away three goals, Aden Bishop fired in two goals and had an assist and Andrew Kline-Fernandez picked up two assists during a five-goal second period for Dos Pueblos.
“Going into halftime 8-2, we really felt the defense had set the tone for the game,” said Parrish. “There wasn’t really a question at that point is what it felt like. That being said, the fourth quarter rolls around and we give up six goals.”
The Chargers went up 10-4 in the third period. Neushul finished an on-the-money pass from Robles for the ninth goal and Moore converted a penalty shot after Nelson drew a foul after receiving a long pass from Robles in front of the goal.
Kyle Frank scored both goals in the period for the Wildcats. He led the team with four.
Robles denied Brea Olinda from scoring a fifth goal, blocking a shot one-on-one opportunity and then stopping the rebound with two seconds left.
The Wildcats made a run in the fourth period, but Liam Sommer and Moore scored in the final minute to clinch the win for Dos Pueblos. Sommer scored three goals.
“Liam Sommer had a great game,” said Parrish. “It seemed like he’d been flat a little bit, but he showed up today. He did really well.”
Moore is excited to see the team do well in the postseason.
“We feel confident,” he said. “We’re ready to play whoever is next in line, and we’re ready to go to the semifinals.”