A new era of Dos Pueblos boys water polo began with a down-to-the-wire game in the opener of the Santa Barbara Invitational.
A Chargers team with a new coach and three starters making their varsity debuts was knotted up with Los Osos, 9-9, going into the final minutes. But they gave up a penalty shot and committed a turnover that led to another goal and dropped an 11-9 decision on Thursday at the Elings Aquatic Center.
“I thought we did a good job of battling and competing with a good Los Osos team but we made a lot of silly mistakes that led to really easy goals and had a hard time generating a lot of offense at the other end,” said first-year coach Connor Levoff.
The scoring of Dylan Elliott and stellar goalkeeping by Ben Cable gave the Chargers a chance to win the game. Elliott scored a team-high five goals and Cable made 10 saves. There was a sequence in the third period where Cable made three saves in a row, and in the final period he stopped a point-blank shot by Cole Kopperud to keep the score tied at 9-9.
Cable is returning to the game after suffering concussion symptoms.
“Ben played great coming back from injury,” Levoff said. “I don’t think he’s played a water polo game in almost a year. So, for him to have 10-11 blocks and just alter a lot of shots, he had a massive impact on the game. I’m super happy for him, he’s a game changer.”
Elliott stepped up to be an offensive force for the Chargers, who were missing injured standout Taylor Gustasson.
Elliott and freshman Ethan Parrish worked some nice combinations in the game. Parrish, the son of former coach Chris Parrish and the brother of former DP star Blake Parrish, fed a sweet pass inside to Elliott, who tapped it in for the tying goal with 3:48 to go.
Parrish scored a tying goal in the second quarter (5-5) and gave DP a 7-6 lead in the third.
“I think we found a little rhythm in the second and third quarters,” Levoff said. “A lot of what we do on offense is not based on personnel but ends up running through them because they’re really skilled and real athletic players that understand what I’m asking them to do. I think as the year goes on, hopefully we have a little synergy from them and hopefully get a lot of goals and a lot of exclusions out of that too.”
Joseph Galgani scored six goals to lead Los Osos and Dillon Mannion converted the penalty shot that gave the Grizzlies the lead for good.
Levoff had two freshman and a sophomore in his starting lineup and played two varsity newbies off the bench.
“I’m happy with how competitive we are and happy with our fitness level,” Levoff said of the opener. “I think this is a team that is going to be able to win those close games as we start to figure each other out. They’re learning a new system, a new style of play. I kind of expected sort of a slow start and it was actually better than I anticipated. We then kind of ended up shooting ourselves in the foot toward the end.”
Dos Pueblos plays Carpinteria at 2 p.m., and Claremont at 7 p.m. at the San Marcos pool. Carpinteria was a late replacement for Bellevue, Wash.
San Marcos 19, Cerritos 8
Princeton-bound Miles Cole was a force inside, scoring six goals, and Jesse Morrison added five, leading the Royals to a first-round victory at Santa Barbara High.
UCSB commit Spencer Wood added three goals, five other players chipped in goals and goalie Ben Spievak made nine saves, as San Marcos (2-1) advanced to a second-round game against Davis on Friday at 3 p.m. at Dos Pueblos.
In other action Thursday, Damien beat Servite, 13-7; Righetti topped Capo Valley, 12-7; Laguna Beach beat Claremont 9-4; Vista edged Murrieta Valley 8-7 and Dana Hills defeated St. Xavier of Ohio, 16-7.
Santa Barbara High plays Dana Hills at 1 p.m., on Friday.