The Dos Pueblos defense was like a giant octopus in the San Marcos pool during Thursday’s crosstown water polo game against the Royals.
Like tentacles whipping all over the place, the Charger defenders seemed to get their hands on every pass or shot. The resulting blocked shots and steals were converted into goals during a 13-3 Channel League rout by DP.
The Chargers had nine field blocks and 12 goalie saves in the win, which clinched a tie for the regular-season league title at 4-0. San Marcos falls to 2-1 in league.
“I think the little pool helped us a lot in that regard,” DP coach Connor Levoff said. “It’s a lot easier to fill shot-blocking lanes when everybody is in front of the goal. We shot blocked really well and (goalie) Angus (Goodner) played about as well as he’s been playing for us in every game.
“All that together was really helpful in stopping them, because they got some good looks early.”
The DP defense made its presence felt early, as Goodner blocked shots on two San Marcos power plays in the first period.
Wyatt Meckelborg scored after the first block to begin a 10-0 run by the Chargers through the first 16 minutes of the game.
“Actually, I thought they were outplaying us early in the game, but we were getting blocks and then we kind of opened up in transition and that was when we went on our run,” said Levoff.
San Marcos (10-12 overall) didn’t score until the 3:03 mark of the third period on a goal by Peter Frisell.
“Their kids were a lot faster,” San Marcos coach Peera Sukavivatanachai said of the Chargers. “They played at a higher speed and tempo that we weren’t able to keep up with.”
Alex Reilly was the catalyst for DP in the first period, as he had three steals and a field block. He also notched an assist on the second goal, feeding Ethan Parrish on a counterattack.
“He’s a really smart player and he does a lot for us on defense,” Levoff said. “He has the ball in his hands a lot because he tends to make really darn good decisions for the most part. I thought he played really well today.”
Goodner found Parrish ahead of the Royals’ defense and threw a length-of-the-pool pass which the junior buried for a 3-0 lead.
Parrish led DP with four goals, Wyatt Meckelborg had three, Kyle Faison and Sammy Arshadi tallied two each and Rex Goodner and Reilly each had one.
Liam McCarthy scored two goals for San Marcos.
Angus Goodner denied San Marcos’ Trevor Ricci and Arshadi grabbed the rebound of his own shot and flipped it in to put the Chargers up 4-0 at the end of the first period.
Wyatt Meckelborg steals the ball for Dos Pueblos, feeds Alex Reilly, who passes off to Sammy Arshadi on a 2-on-1 break. Arshadi passes back to Reilly for the finish. pic.twitter.com/dtGIvYC8Wi
— NoozhawkSports (@NoozhawkSports) October 12, 2018
As San Marcos continued to struggle to clear looks at goal, DP kept scoring in the second period. Parrish connected from long range to beat the shot clock, starting a five-goal run.
“We don’t have an outside presence like they do. They have a lot shooters on the perimeter that we don’t,” said Sukavivatanachai.
The play that probably best characterized DP’s dominance in the game came with 1:33 left in the second period. Meckelborg stole the ball and passed long to Reilly, who was on a 2-on-1 break with Arshadi. Reilly threw across to Arshadi and he pump faked a couple of times before laying the ball off to Reilly for the finish.
“We scored on some nice extra passes on the counter,” said Levoff.
On another play in the fourth period, Parrish picked up a deflected ball in front of the cage and threw long to a back-stroking Arshadi, who flipped a lob shot into the net.
“This game in a big pool is a little different story,” Levoff said. “I don’t think we go 10-0 on them if we played 100 times again, to be completely honest.
“It was the perfect storm of us playing in spots and them missing some easy looks in spots, and it happened to go our way today.”
The Chargers (15-7 overall) are back in action Monday, hosting La Serna in a rematch of last year’s CIF-SS Division 3 title game. San Marcos plays at Santa Ynez in a Channel League game.