Enterprise staff writer
Coming into WednesdayÕs boys water polo match between Davis and Granite Bay high schools, the two teams were steeped in Sac-Joaquin Section tradition and titles.
The homestanding Blue Devils have earned 13 regional crowns Ñ all in Division I. The Grizzlies are in D-II and donÕt have as long a history as DHS, but own four recent CIF titles (including 2009).
Nonetheless, both schools came into the Arroyo Pool showdown with identical 4-1 records, both of which were carved out in last weekendÕs John Schmitt Memorial Tournament in San Jose.
As almost 120 fans watched, DHS passed another big test, dispatching Granite Bay, 13-5.
ÒTo defeat teams like (the Grizzlies), we need to control the ball on offense and play good position defense,Ó DHS coach Tracy Stapleton said before the game, adding:
ÒWith Granite Bay, if we dictate the pace of the game, control the ball and play good individual and team defense, we will be competitive and will likely win.Ó
The veteran Stapleton apparently knows his stuff.
As Wade Allen and Connor Stapleton scored four goals apiece, the Devils, for the most part, followed their coachÕs formula for success.
After opening a 4-2 lead early in the second period, Davis played shaky defense for a few minutes and the Grizzlies drew close at 5-4 with 1:04 to go until halftime.
ÒIt was sloppy,Ó coach Stapleton said of the second period. ÒWe werenÕt as disciplined and as patient with the ball … as we were the rest of the game.Ó
But after halftime, it was lights out for the visitors.
DHS went on an 8-1 tear which saw Allen, Paul Dailey, Tre Moynihan and Connor Stapleton thwart GBHS on drive after drive.
In return, the Blue Devils launched a handful of meaningful shots resulting in goals by Noah Friedman (from Mark Ward at 6:36), Ward (left-handed from across the pool) and Connor Stapleton (off a penalty shot earned by Dailey).
Just like that, it was 8-4 and the Grizzlies sank completely.
Stapleton provided a highlight-film pass when Dailey scored his teamÕs 12th goal late in the game.
Receiving a nifty inlet pass from Allen, the sophomore attacker feigned a shot, got his defender airborne and flipped a perfect pass to a torpedo-like Dailey, who collected and easily plopped the ball home.
When Moynihan scored in the final minute (his second goal), the route was complete.
Dillon Osleger (first half) and Nick Abplanalp split goaltending duties, each rejecting four Granite Bay shots. Davis outshot its guests 25-16 Ñ converting eight of its 10 second-half attempts.
Next up for the Devils is Franklin in Elk Grove next Wednesday. Then DHS travels to San Diego for the AmericaÕs Finest Invitational Tournament on Sept. 24-25.
Coach Stapleton says ÒitÕs those kinds of opportunities (in San Diego),Ó that allow his team to grow.
Davis was the section runner-up to St. MaryÕs last season.
Ñ Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or (530) 747-8056. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com