Boys water polo falls to Ponderosa, 10-8

Luke McAuliffe

Boys water polo makes CIF regional for first time

Piedmont High School’s debut in the California Interscholastic Federation northern regional boys water polo tournament lasted one match as the Highlanders fell to Ponderosa-Shingle Springs, 10-8 on November 14 at Granite Bay High School.

“I think they were a little better than us,” Piedmont coach John Savage said. “We played well, and came alive in the third quarter when we finally got some drives and counter attacks going. The first half we played a little tight and tired.”

The Highlanders earned the berth by winning the first North Coast Section championship in school history on November 11, defeating Alameda, 10-8 for the Division 2 title.

Ponderosa’s Koen Voss scored the first two goals of the game. But Piedmont answered back with goals from George Stein and Peter Krumins. However, the Bruins scored the next four goals to open up a 6-2 lead with just one minute, six seconds left in the first half.

Finn Burke got one back in the final minute of the second quarter to make it 6-3 at halftime. Daniel Banin and Burke scored the first two goals of the third quarter to cut the deficit to one. The quarter ended with Ponderosa leading, 7-6.

The Bruins were again able to open the lead to four by scoring the first three goals of the fourth quarter. Stein scored a pair of goals in the final 2:07 but it wasn’t enough.

Stein finished with three goals and Burke with two. Krumins, Banin and Declan Linnane each scored one for Piedmont.

Voss finished with three goals for Ponderosa. Nick Lane had two for the Bruins.

Piedmont finished the season at 17-9. The highlight of the season was winning the NCS championship. How did the Highlanders do it?

“I think this is the first time we had a complete team,” Savage said. “Every guy on our team could score and handle the ball and knew their roles and responsibilities. In the past we had a few stars. This is the first time we had several very good players, and then players behind them that could take advantage of their opportunities.”

Savage said the next step is building on the success of this year’s team.

“Working on the continued success of the team and continue to grow the team,” he said. “We only had a few freshmen join the squad. Every year we introduce some new plays, new wrinkles so that the team grows and gets better. Success can look like a lot of things. This year we played good water polo across the board. Next year and beyond is all about playing better water polo.”

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