In a memorable night for the seniors in front of the largest Flood the Tub crowd to date, the Clairemont Boy’s Water Polo team delivered a huge win over cross-town rival University City High. The crowd was electric, and the noise was at times deafening. Both teams struggled to hear their coaches or whistle blows of the officials due to the roars of the fans packed tightly into the bleachers.
The Chiefs got things going first, as senior Kouki Aihara delivered a cross pass to senior Jake Stone who legged up high over his defender to catch the pass and back hand slam dunk the ball into the goal. The Centurions adjusted their defense into a zone in an attempt to slow down the Chieftains, which worked for most of the quarter until Jake Stone broke away on a counter attack and scored his second goal of the match to put Clairemont up 2-0. A late Centurion goal brought the score to 2-1 at the end of the first.
Clairemont took off in the second, scoring 5 straight goals to pull far away from UC by halftime. Jake Stone continued to dominate, scoring twice more at the start of the quarter to put Clairemont up 4-1. A few possessions later and senior Stephen Drummy found senior Derek Kagen on a counter attack to extend the lead to 5-1. Kouki Aihara and sophomore Henry Connell added tallies throughout the quarter as well to put Clairemont up 701 with less than 1 minute remaining. Clairemont’s press defense suffocated the UC offense, and created several counter attack opportunities that the Chiefs were able to utilize to their advantage. Senior goalie Jonah Stratton repeatedly denied the Centurions from the perimeter, stopping shot after shot to keep UC from answering the Chieftain scoring run. Finally the Centurions were able to break through late and cut into the the Clairemont lead. But in the final play of the half, senior Jake Stone corralled a rebounded shot from senior Garrett Chamberlain, and fought through two defenders and the goalie on his back to send a back hand shot through the back of the goal as time expired. The fans exploded in an uproar, and the Chieftains walked into the locker room with a comfortable 8-2 lead.
But UC was not prepared to roll over against their foes just yet, and made several key halftime adjustments that nearly rallied them back into the game. UC answered Clairemont’s big second quarter with a huge third quarter, scoring 5 times and cutting their deficit in half. The Centurions started their rally off quick, putting away two back to back goals in the first two minutes of the quarter. Clairemont called a timeout to settle down, but the Centurions capitalized off the timeout by stealing the ball, swimming down the pool and scoring. The Chieftains were reeling. UC smelled blood in the water and began to swarm the Chiefs on defense, and throw a fluery of shots on senior goalie Jonah Stratton. Despite giving up 5 goals in the quarter, Stratton also made 8 saves to keep his team out in front. It was Stratton who reinvigorated his commrades and the crowd after stopping a 2 on 1 counter attack with an emphatic 2 hand block. The crowd went wild, inspiring seniors Jake Stone and Derek Kagen to find a way through the UC defense.
4th quarter. Clairemont now only leading 10-7, needed to put the game away. UC still had alot of momentum, and they took that into the fourth quarter by earning a penalty shot on their first possession. This was the moment that defined the game, as senior goalie Jonah Stratton came up with a huge stop to rob UC of the easy goal. This was enough to effective deflate the Centurions, as the Chieftains rolled on both sides of the ball for the remainder of the game. Freshmen Barrett Satre and senior Kouki Aihara put away a couple of shots from the perimeter to take a 5 goal lead through most of the 4th quarter. Senior Derek Kagen added an exclamation point on the game by scoring a late goal, and the Chieftains proceeded to run out the clock on their final possession to claim the 13-7 victory.
Goals – Jake Stone (6), Derek Kagen (3), Kouki Aihara (2), Henry Connell (1), Barrett Satre (1)
Assists – Kouki Aihara (5), Beau Buser (2), Stephen Drummy (2), Taiki Aihara (1)
Steals – Jonah Stratton (5), Beau Buser (5), Jake Stone (5), Derek Kagen (1), Ben Holombo (1), Stephen Drummy (1), Kouki Aihara (1)
Saves – Jonah Stratton (20)
The Clairemont Boy’s Water Polo team finishes the regular season 18-10 with a 6-2 league record. Up next, the #7 Chieftains host their first round CIF match against #10 Mater Dei at the Tub at 5pm. COME OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR CHIEFTAINS!!!!