It’s the final week of the regular season, and the Chieftains are desperately fighting for the best possible seed going into the CIF tournament next week. Every match down the stretch has major implications on those final rankings, so the Clairemont Water Polo boys needed to come out and take care of business against Division 2 Scripps Ranch in order to stay in the hunt. And take care of business they did, as the Chiefs dominated the the Falcons 17-6 at the Tub on Wednesday night.
The Chiefs took some time to get rolling in the first half, but came through with a huge second half to put the game away. Jake Stone got things started for the Chiefs, legging up over his defender to slam dunk a beautiful pass from Kouki Aiharah to give his team a 1-0 lead. Jake Stone scored again in first after powering a backhand over the goalie’s head from the center. But the rest of the quarter was defined by missed opportunities and turnovers, which gave Scripps an ample opportunities to score. Fortunately for Clairemont senior goalie Jonah Stratton was up to the task, stopping 3 counter attack shots and only relinquished one goal in the quarter.
Chieftains were unable to to pull away from the Falcons through the second quarter, trading goals with Scripps throughout the quarter to allow them to stay in the game. Sophomore Henry Connell opened up the second quarter of scoring with a beautiful blast from the perimeter to push the Clairemont lead to 3-1. Scripps responded. Then it was Kouki Aihara who ripped a sweep shot past the goalie to make it 4-2 Clairemont. Scripps responded again. Finaly Clairemont managed to string together a pair of goals from Jake Stone and Derek Kagen to take a 6-3 lead at half.
After a stern discussion with coach at half, the Chieftains came out with renewed intensity and absolutely took it to Scripps. 90 seconds into the quarter and the Chieftains had rattled off 2 more goals to leap out to an 8-3 lead. The second half explosion was spurred on after senior Beau Buser capitalized on two steals from Jake Stone to push odd man counter attack advantages down the pool, converting both with two well placed shots to the corners. 90 more seconds into the quarter and Chiefs had erupted out to a 10-3 lead with 2 more goals! This time it was Jake Stone for his 4th goal of the contest off a penalty shot, and Henry Mounier after hammering a superb shot past a field blocker and over the goalie’s head on a power play. Scripps had not given up yet, holding the Chieftains from scoring again for the remainder of the quarter, and managed to score two late goals to cut into the deficit. But the advantage was still 10-5 in Clairemont’s favor.
The Falcons ran out of steam in the fourth though, and the Chieftains poured on 7 more tallies by the final whistle. Derek Kagen went off in the 4th to truly put the game out of reach, scoring 3 straight goals in as many minutes to open the quarter. Jake Stone also added 3 more goals to his stat sheet, and Bryan Schlegel put away a late power play to help the Chieftains coast to a 17-6 victory.
Goals – Jake Stone (7), Derek Kagen (4), Beau Buser (2), Bryan Schlegel (1), Kouki Aihara (1), Henry Mounier (1), Henry Connell (1)
Assists – Kouki Aihara (4), Derek Kgaen (3), Jake Stone (2), Barrett Satre (2), Beau Buser (1), Taiki Aihara (1)
Steals – Kouki Aihara (4), Jake Stone (4), Jonah Stratton (2), Derek Kagen (2), Stephen Drummy (1), Barrett Satre (1), Taiki Aihara (1)
Saves – Jonah Stratton (8)
The Clairemont Boy’ Water Polo team improves to 16-10 and 5-2 in league play. Up next, the Chieftains conclude their 2018 regular season campaign with FLOOD THE TUB against UC High on Friday night at 5pm at the Clairemont Rec Pool. COME OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR CHIEFTAINS!!!