Login to Claremont COURIER

CHS water polo wins it all in decisive fashion

Claremont High School boys water polo finished a perfect postseason on Saturday with the ultimate prize, a CIF Southern Section Division 5 Championship victory.

The Wolfpack defeated Los Altos 15-7 at the Irvine’s Woollett Aquatics Center in the same commanding fashion they have employed during the entire tournament, bringing their overall record to 22-11.

The lopsided victories have largely been due to the foundation provided by the Pack’s unstoppable defense, which was in full evidence on Saturday with goalkeeper Steven Cagle delivering an outstanding performance.

“He had the game of his life,” said coach Kirstin Rodriguez in a phone interview on Wednesday. Cagle usually averages between 7 and 13 saves per game, but this time he notched 23 saves according to official records (28 according to team count.)

Also key on defense were Johnathon Wong and Adam Ward, who teamed up to shut down any attempt the Conquerors made to get in scoring position. Top scorer Justin Contreras for Los Altos had 13 attempts on goal, but only found the net three times.

Claremont came out strong and went 4-0 lead in the first few minutes, but perhaps got a bit too pumped and Los Altos answered back with a goal. CHS seemed to recognize the mistake and got back on track scoring five more to lead 9-2 at the half.

The Conquerors started the second half by pulling back on their defense and placing all effort on offense in an attempt to get back into the game. This meant that the Pack had to change their stance as well, but the result changed little and Claremont was ahead 13-3 after three quarters.

“The team were very confident in each other, they got back (on defense) to help when needed and showed great support, ” said coach Rodriguez.

Bruno Snow was the top scorer this season for the Pack and has become a huge threat both on offense and defense.  “He was everywhere, very stealth, not a flashy player more like the one who makes a perfect pass when surrounded by three defenders,” said coach Rodriguez, “He scored the first two goals and really set the tone of the game.”

It is the first time that Claremont has had a CIF championship in water polo and the coaches are very proud of the team. In a surprise announcement after the game, Cagle was named Palomares League MVP and several players made first team.

Photo by Waleska C. Pagan Navazi