When Granite Bay scored the first goal within the opening seconds of Thursday’s game, it looked like the Grizzlies were going to provide the first challenge of the season for the Davis High boys water polo team. As it turns out, first impressions can be quite misleading.
After that quick goal, the Blue Devils proceeded to blow their visitors out of the water at Arroyo Pool. GBHS simply had no answers for the DHS offense, and the Devils capitalized for a 17-4 victory.
The victory pushed Davis’ record to 3-0 on the season, the wins coming by a combined score of 54-9. According to local head coach Tracy Stapleton, much of that offensive success can be attributed to the Blue Devil defense.
“Our scoring comes from our defense,” Stapleton said after the game. “That momentum comes from the defensive side of the ball. When we are willing to work and play defense well, it generates some opportunities.”
Those opportunities were abundant on Thursday as senior Garrett Fisk led the squad with five goals, while fellow senior Tyler Ujifusa and junior Bradley Nicholson each added a hat trick. Freshman Cameron Wright tallied twice, with single goals from seniors Alex Borowsky and Graham Fullerton, junior Conrad McCarthy and freshman Daniel Alvarez rounding out the DHS scoring.
And, for many of those players, their contributions went beyond scoring. Nicholson had an especially balanced game, notching four assists and multiple steals. McCarthy also provided excellent defense.
“I thought Conrad McCarthy had an excellent game,” Stapleton said. “He was guarding Alek Dendall … (who is) definitely one of their top players, and one of the top 12 players in the section.”
Goalie Jeff Stark excelled in front of the Devil cage, blocking multiple shots, but his defense made life easy for him. That strong Davis defense was a team effort, with the whole squad making sure Granite Bay got no easy opportunities.
Winning by 14 goals over a Grizzly team that was expected to give them a competitive match has the locals feeling confident. But Stapleton still sees room for improvement:
“We have to bring (a higher) level of intensity from the opening whistle.”
The Blue Devils will look to do that next Tuesday when they host Oak Ridge (5-4) at Arroyo Pool. According to Stapleton, the focus in practice will be more on how DHS can improve than preparing specifically for the Trojans.
“I’m not really that concerned about them,” Stapleton said. “I really focus on what we’re doing. Right now for us, I’m most interested in our players recognizing what we’re trying to do.”
Judging from their early success, it appears that the Devils are learning quite well.
— Reach Spencer Ault at firstname.lastname@example.org