YOLO COUNTY NEWS

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DHS boys get past Merced

By November 10, 2010

Enterprise staff writer

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LODI — There they were, leading 5-0, seemingly blowing past their competition on every possession.

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But after one period of water polo, Davis High boys coach Tracy Stapleton had some sharp words for his Blue Devils.

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“We just weren\’t playing well,” the veteran mentor said after his waterbugs rolled to a 13-3

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Sac-Joaquin Section playoff win over Merced at Tokay High on Tuesday. “The score doesn\’t necessarily indicate how you\’re playing. We need mental and emotional focus. It was very sloppy. We can\’t play that way.”

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Wow. What happens to those poor teams against which DHS focuses?

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The Blue Devils started fast when Paul Dailey intercepted a Bear pass and fed Connor Stapleton streaking toward the goal. The sophomore attacker feigned a shot, got Merced keeper Nick Fazzari airborne and placed in the net the first of 11 first-half Davis goals.

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Thirty seconds later, Wade Allen assisted on Noah Friedman\’s goal, and longtime Merced coach Stephen Eccles, seeing how easy it was for the Devils, called time out at 5:07. It didn\’t work.

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Only 27 more seconds elapsed before a bad Fazzari clear led to an Allen goal (off the Friedman interception and assist).

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When Friedman added another goal and Tre Moynihan made it 5-0 — in a one-on-one staredown with Fazzari — the 200 fans assembled knew the rout was on.

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“I\’m telling you,” Stapleton insisted. “You can\’t play how we played. And in the tournament, you have to take it one game at a time. If we have a bunch of sophomores starting, maybe that kind (of play) is acceptable. But we had five seniors out there.”

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With DHS swimming past Bear defenders, Moynihan-to-Stapleton-to-Friedman started the second-quarter scoring at 6:18.

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Allen scored two of the next three points (sandwiched around a Friedman goal) and Eccles called his team back to the side of the pool.

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By the time intermission arrived, Friedman had netted his fifth goal of the game, and Stapleton put the 11th score of the half in with 26 seconds left.

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With his bench cleared, coach Stapleton saw good defense from Dailey, goalkeeper Nick Abplanalp (five second-half saves) and David Lester after the break. The Blue Devils took huge chunks of time off the clock, using cautious possessions and Abplanalp\’s huge wingspan and patience on the outlet.

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The Bears (13-8, 8-4 as the runner-up in the Central California Conference) finally broke through when Brian Laguna took advantage of short-handed Davis at 5:06 of the final period.

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Lester completed the DHS onslaught, scoring off his own posted rebound, before Evan Hall and Kaleb Jones added late goals for Merced.

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“I thought Paul Dailey played hard,” the elder Stapleton offered, adding:

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“But it was just the little things, like not talking …”

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Next up for the Devils is a semifinal match in which they will have to meet Tokay in the Tigers\’ pool on Thursday at 11 a.m.

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Notes: More than 400 were attendance for the morning\’s first game, a 7-5 Tokay victory over Lodi. In the game immediately after DHS, Jesuit stopped St. Mary\’s and later, Oak Ridge beat Turlock. … So strong were Allen, Stapleton, Friedman and Dailey on defense, that at one point Merced had five straight “attacks” without a shot attempt.

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