LODI — It has been a steady climb for the Davis High boys water polo team, as it attempts to defend its Sac-Joaquin Section championship.
As they worked to get better throughout the past few months, the veteran Blue Devils knew exactly where they needed to be come playoff time. And, as it showed in Monday’s 20-5 quarterfinal victory over Merced on Monday, that’s exactly where DHS is.
“We are peaking at the right time,” said Devil coach Tracy Stapleton. “There is an awareness of each other. We are getting to the point where everyone knows what everyone else is trying to do and when they are trying to do it. There is a synchronization of our communication that is just great.”
With the Davis attack clicking in all cylinders, seniors Graham Fullerton (five goals) and Garrett Fisk (four) took advantage to lead the team in scoring against the Bears. Freshman Cameron Wright and junior Conrad McCarthy each added hat tricks, while 11th-grader Brad Nicholson and senior Alex Borowsky chipped in two goals apiece.
Senior Tyler Ujifusa had the final local tally, and the scoring was more than enough thanks to another outstanding performance from goalie Jeff Stark.
The win sends the Blue Devils into a Wednesday semifinal match (1 p.m.) against a familiar opponent: Granite Bay. When the two teams met in September, DHS won 17-4. A similar result Wednesday at Tokay High (Lodi) will put the Devils in Saturday’s section title contest against either Jesuit or Lodi.
“The guys have been working hard for this,” Stapleton said. “We can’t play Saturday’s game before Wednesday so we are taking it one game at a time, but (a title) is certainly the goal.”