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CHS water polo stays on winning track in CIF play

Last week Claremont High School boys water polo coach Kristin Rodriguez said even the wild card games in this year’s CIF tournament were going to be a challenge…and she was clearly right.

The final score, Claremont won 14-9, does not tell the full story. The Yorba Linda Mustangs played a hard fought game that was close up until the last quarter.

One could tell from the get-go that Claremont was in for a fight when the Mustangs’ Dmitri Demopolis scored during an exclusion of Claremont’s Dylan Clinton. But Yorba Linda had little time to celebrate as Ian Waasdorp evened the score a few seconds later.

The Mustangs had the lead again only to see it disappear for good on goals from Lenny Davis and Luke Pulver. The quarter ended at 3-2.

Yorba Linda tied it again during an exclusion on TJ Carney, and almost went ahead on another exclusion if not for an incredible save by Kellan Grant. Exclusions were an issue for both teams through out the game, which caused a bit of consternation for both coaches.

“I think the kick out ratio was in favor of them, there were some that I was not aware that was a rule,” said Coach Kristin Rodriguez.

Bruno Snow eventually broke the tie with a soft shot over the keeper’s head, which was the first of five goals for Snow for the night. Clinton then made it 5-3 to close the half.

There was more back and forth in the scoring during the third quarter with Claremont staying at least a point ahead. Davis had a really powerful shot that he bounced off the water’s surface with two seconds on the shot clock. “That finish it had no angle and should not have gone in, never, it was a momentum changer,” Coach Rodriguez said.

In the final seven-minute quarter Claremont had all of the momentum including three goals from Snow and another from Waasdorp and Clinton. As frustration grew for the Mustangs at the three-minute point, all Claremont had to do was run the clock out for the win.

Yorba Linda’s Dominic Bartollo ended the game with four goals, making him the top score on the Mustang squad. In addition, goalkeeper Jacob Walker had a number of great saves which kept Yorba Linda in the match well after the Pack should have put the game away.

We picked it up in the fourth quarter, had a big steal, and then we went for it and that was it [for the game],” sad Coach Rodriguez.

Coach Rodriguez had nothing but good things to say about Snow’s performance at the game’s conclusion, “He was so good and this was probably a mellow game for him too, he is capable of so much more,” she said.

It has been a good week all around for Claremont with a narrow, 10-11, victory over rival Damien last Friday and Wednesday night Claremont did it again, defeating Malibu 10-8 in the second round CIF game. They will have a couple of days to rest with the third round coming back to Claremont on Saturday.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com