After winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Championship last year, the Davis High boys water polo team is finding itself among the top squads in the area once again.
And when another one of those teams invaded Arroyo Pool on Tuesday, the Blue Devils’ 12-4 victory — over rival Lodi — reaffirmed their status.
Knowing that the match was going to be one of its biggest in-section challenges of the regular season, DHS was ready to go to work. But after winning by eight goals, the Devils are still looking for that tough test.
It was a balanced, well-organized attack that powered Davis to the victory, led by a variety of players. Tyler Ujifusa kick-started the attack, notching the first goal of the game just 40 seconds into the first quarter. Before the period was over, Ujifusa had assisted Zac Anderson on another tally. Both seniors finished with two goals in the game.
But it was junior Conrad McCarthy who led the locals. He scored four goals, including three in the fourth quarter. Senior Garrett Fisk added two scores, while senior Graham Fullerton and freshman Cameron Wright both had one goal in the contest.
“Conrad McCarthy, Graham Fullerton, Garrett Fisk, Tyler Ujifusa … all had great games,” DHS coach Tracy Stapleton told The Enterprise.
Ujifusa’s second goal was a perfect snapshot of how disciplined and precise the Devil offense was on Tuesday …
Coming off of a timeout, Davis worked the ball around and got the Flames to overextend. Once Blue Devil senior Alex Borowsky got the ball in the corner, all he had to do was loft a pass to a wide-open Ujifusa, left unguarded in front of the net.
The DHS defense was every bit as good as the offense, frustrating the Lodi offense incessantly. Fullerton led the locals with three steals, while several players finished with two.
Goalie Jeff Stark was a wall, blocking five shots and adding a steal for good measure.
“I thought we had really strong defense throughout the game,” Stapleton said. “And it showed.”
The Devils are heading down to Southern California this weekend, to participate in the S&R Sport Cup. Stapleton said the elevated level of competition that Davis will find there will be a benefit:
“We’re going to play a bunch of teams that are going to force us to deal with the things that we struggled with. Every team’s a good team, and that’s why we do it. It’s going to force us to be better, and that’s what we need right now.”
Notes: The Blue Devils will play S&R Sport Cup games on Friday and Saturday. … Only one referee showed up for Tuesday’s contest, but that official received enough “constructive criticism” for two people. Both coaches were awarded yellow cards in the contest, but the one awarded to Stapleton ended up benefiting DHS. It was given to him as Lodi was starting a fast break, stopping the Flames in their tracks. When play resumed, the Devils stole the ball and quickly scored, leaving the Lodi coach fuming.
— Reach Spencer Ault at [email protected]