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CHS water polo advances to CIF finals

It would be tempting to say that the Wolfpack scored first and never looked back in their 17-7 water polo victory over Redlands on Wednesday during the CIF semifinal matchup at Diamond Bar High, but that would overlook all of the hard work the boys put in to win.

The Pack did come out strong with Johnathon Wong and Bruno Snow scoring the first two goals, but the Terriers shook off their early jitters and answered with a goal from Austin Kent. Claremont scored the next two goals coming first from Ian Waasdorp and then Mat Turk but Mr. Kent also scored, ending the first quarter at 4-2.

The most competitive play of the night came in the second quarter with Redlands’ Jared Gornay scoring three times, answered by goals from Mr. Snow, Mr. Wong and Dylan Landi. Claremont’s two-point advantage, carried over from the first quarter, kept them on top exiting the pool up 7-5 at halftime.

Redlands looked like they were on the brink of a comeback opening the second half with Mr. Kent scoring in the first 40 seconds of play to bring the game within one point at 7-6, but from then on it was all Claremont. The Pack scored five unanswered goals in the remaining 6 minutes of the third quarter leaving their opponent completely demoralized and all but sealing the victory at 12-6.

All that Claremont had to do was to hold their lead, which they did by shutting down Redlands offense only allowing a single goal from the Terriers in the final quarter. Meanwhile the Pack padded their lead with five more goals, two from Mr. Wassdorp and one each from Adam Ward, Mr. Snow and Mr. Turk.

Once again Claremont’s defense was the key to their success with six saves, one steal and two assists coming from standout goalkeeper Steven Cagel. Claremont stole the ball 11 times and was able to force Redlands to turn over the ball repeatedly.

“Our defense is what we take pride in,” said Coach Kristin Rodriguez but she also said her pregame instructions to offensive players were, “When you shoot, mean it.”

Redlands key defensive tactic seemed to be shutting down Claremont’s top scorer Mr. Snow who only had three goals Wednesday, far short of his usual tally. Unfortunately for the Terriers, Mr. Wong was more than happy to pick up the slack scoring five times, and freshman Mr. Waasdorp also hit the net three times. Also key to their success was Thomas Randles who added six assists to his two goals

Up next for Claremont is the CIF final to be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine.