San Marcos took the liveliness out of Wednesday’s crosstown water polo match with Dos Pueblos by forcing turnovers and scoring six unanswered goals in the first half en route to a 13-6 win at the Elings Aquatic Center.
Nic Prentice hit a tough fadeaway shot to break a 2-2 near the end of the first period, and then drew a major penalty and converted the resulting penalty shot for a 4-2 lead at 3:53 of the second period. Prentice struck again, finishing a crossing pass from Luke Hill for a 5-2 lead with three seconds remaining in the period.
The San Marcos defense continually shut down DP’s attack and created counterattacks. Charlie Franzen beat the goalie at the near post for a 6-2 lead, and Jake Magid and Hudson McLeod followed with goals for a commanding 8-2 advantage at 4:11 of the third period.
“We were a little slow at the beginning,” San Marcos coach Peera Sukavivatanachai said. “A lot of our kids were coming out of cold- and flu-like symptoms, so we were a little unsure coming into this game. But we have a lot of depth and we were trying to rotate kids. I think it really showed in that third and fourth quarter, when we started ramping up with goals.”
Dos Pueblos coach Chris Parrish said turnovers put the Chargers in a hole.
“To be frank, it was a little bit embarrassing,” Parrish said of the team’s performance. “I think we were just a little underprepared. We’re coming off some illnesses, and I think we just didn’t show up. San Marcos probably had a pretty good game plan coming in, and we certainly helped them by the ton of turnovers we gave them. We just had a tough time making accurate passes.”
The Chargers tried to play out of the center, but San Marcos swarmed the player in the middle and either took the ball away or forced a bad pass.
“Water polo is a fickle sport sometimes,” Parrish said. “You can get super lucky on a bounce sometimes and you can get unlucky. We had a few that skipped away from us, one on a one and nobody that hits my guy in the head and then goes straight to the goalkeeper.
“We played down pretty much the whole game, but had those (plays) gone the other direction, I think it would have changed the flow of the game and, perhaps, the momentum would have shifted and (the score) would have been a little bit tighter.”
Sukavivatanachai said his team was aided by its familiarity with DP.
“We knew who their shooters were, we knew who their big stars were, so we had a plan coming in to make sure those kids didn’t create opportunities and help off the other ones, if necessary,” he said.
Brody Luke scored five goals to lead the Chargers (10-5, 2-1), with four coming in the second half. The only other player to score was Aiden Bishop.
San Marcos (9-4, 3-0) had five goal scorers, led by Prentice with seven. Magid tallied two goals and Franzen, McLeod, Hill and Will Stuart each had one.
The Royals scored off several counterattacks.
“It took us a little bit of an adjustment realizing what the defensive plan was, and I think we played to it pretty well,” Sukavivatanachai said.
The game didn’t have the intensity of a crosstown battle.
“It was kind of quiet out there,” the San Marcos coach said.
He expects things to be very intense if the teams meet up in the Channel League Tournament following the end of the one-round regular season.
“In all honesty, it’s just a loss,” he said of Wednesday’s encounter. “With tournament play at the end of the year, these head-to-head matchups kind of lose their importance, so to speak.
“We’ll be fine at the end. There’s a lot to learn from that game, and maybe the next time we get in we trim off some of those errors.”