Enterprise staff writer
For the last three quarters of WednesdayÕs water polo match, the Davis High boys outplayed Jesuit, taking 12 more shots than their rivals and scoring three more goals.
But due to a nightmare of a first quarter, the Blue Devils still ended up on the losing end of the score.
The visiting Marauders found the back of the net seven times in the first quarter and DHS was unable to overcome a five-goal deficit in an 11-9 loss at Arroyo Pool. Senior Wade Allen had three goals and an assist to lead the Devils, while Connor Stapleton and Mark Ward each scored twice.
Matthew Giancanelli and Matt Hamilton both had hat tricks to pace Jesuit.
ÒWe were just over-stimulated (in the first quarter) and lost our heads,Ó said DHS head coach Tracy Stapleton. ÒWeÕre not going to have a six-goal run against a team that close to us (in talent). ItÕs like trying to ski uphill.Ó
Before Jesuit embarked on its scoring rampage, the Blue Devils actually took an early lead.
Austin Beckwith put the Marauders up 59 seconds into the match but less than a minute later, Allen tied it up with a shot from the left side of the pool off the near post. Following a Jesuit turnover and an ejection, Brandon Rueda found Noah Friedman with 4:22 to play for a 2-1 Davis lead.
But then things went south.
The Blue Devils led for all of seven seconds before Giancanelli tied it up. DHS turned the ball over and Hamilton put Jesuit in front for good on the ensuing possession. Four more Marauder goals followed, including an impressive solo effort by Philip Cozens with five seconds left, as he split the Devil defense and finished past goalkeeper Nick Abplanalp.
Stapleton had a simple message for his team after the first quarter.
ÒI told them to relax,Ó Stapleton said. ÒI didnÕt change a thing. That part of the game ended and they relaxed.Ó
Ward and Connor Stapleton scored within the first three minutes of the period and the two teams traded goals within 15 seconds of each other later in the quarter as Jesuit held an 8-5 lead at halftime.
The Blue DevilsÕ strong play continued in the third and goals from Ward, after a Marauder ejection, and Tre Moynihan made it 8-7 with 3:20 left in the third. Jesuit answered immediately with a man-advantage tally and then made it 10-7 with a minute to play. The teams traded turnovers before Allen scored in transition to send DHS into the fourth trailing by two (10-8).
Turnovers from both sides marred the first half of the fourth quarter before goals from Beckwith and Allen provided the final score with 3:30 to play. Davis kept up the pressure and had chances to score, but couldnÕt find the back of the net.
Stapleton wasnÕt very concerned with the loss, believing it will help his team going forward.
ÒI would like to win but I would rather win in November,Ó the veteran coach said, referring to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. ÒI told the team that this was a test, but it wasnÕt the final exam.Ó
Notes: DHS girls coach Doug Wright was on scoreboard duty during the match, while assistant coach Dakotah Mohr was keeping the scorebook. … Abplanalp finished with an unofficial tally of three saves. … It was the first meeting between the two teams this year. The schools met for the section title each year from 2005-08 Ñ the Blue Devils won in 2005 and 2008 Ñ before Jesuit lost to St. MaryÕs in the semifinals in 2009. St. MaryÕs then beat DHS in the final. … Davis finished with nine goals on 29 shots, while the Marauders had 11 goals on 21 attempts. … The DHS junior varsity lost, 8-7, in a game that went into sudden death after two scoreless overtime periods.
Ñ Reach Conor Tekautz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 747-8049. Comment on this story or check out The Enterprise sports blog at www.davisenterprise.com