STOCKTON — Facing a traditionally strong St. Mary’s boys water polo team on Thursday, Davis High found the right recipe for success and followed it for a 15-7 victory.
The Blue Devils (11-4) did it on one end of the pool with lockdown defense as Graham Fullerton swallowed up Rams star Derek Clappis, while Connor Stapleton — who was mostly taken out of the DHS offense by relentless double teams — also contributed on that side.
“The key to the game was our active defense,” said Devil coach Tracy Stapleton. “We kept St. Mary’s on its heels by forcing many turnovers.”
With Stapleton drawing the attention of the Rams defense, Garrett Fisk stepped in and came up huge for Davis. Fisk poured in eight goals as the Blue Devils turned a 7-3 halftime lead into an eight-goal victory.
“He scored on some excellent perimeter shots as well as post shots,” Stapleton said of Fisk. “It was arguably his best all-around game.”
Conrad McCarthy and Fullerton added two goals each, while single tallies came from Stapleton, Bradley Nicholson and Tyler Ujifusa, who had one of his best games of the year.
Goalie Jeff Stark, who had a couple of key blocks and made good transition passes, Sam Burke and Jack Blattner all contributed to the win for the Devils, who will host Jesuit (4:45 p.m.) on Wednesday at Arroyo Pool.
After winning Thursday’s first game, the Blue Devils had what coach Julie Crawford called “a momentary lapse” in falling far behind Elk Grove in the second game.
It was just that, however, as DHS turned things around to win that second set, and eventually pulled out a 25-16, 25-22, 25-6 sweep of the visiting Thundering Herd.
“I was really proud of them,” Crawford said. “They showed a lot of heart to come back like that. I always tell them, if we can take care of business on our side of the net, we can take anybody.”
On the Devil side of the net, it was Zoe Hunt-Murray, Maya Gilardo and Makena Sherwood who took care of the most business. Hunt-Murray continued her improvement at the net by hitting well, Gilardo had another strong game in the middle and Sherwood was consistent from her setter position.