Fri, Oct 25 2013 02:11 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The Eastlake High School boys water polo team reached the midpoint of Mesa League play on Wednesday with an undefeated 4-0 league record and a two-game lead in the league standings.
But first-year varsity coach Austin Legg will likely concur the Titans’ quest to win their sixth consecutive league championship has been far from easy.
Eastlake was tested last Friday in a 9-8 come-from-behind win against Mater Dei Catholic; the Titans managed to pull away from a tenuous 8-6 halftime lead against Bonita Vista on Wednesday en route to claiming a 15-7 victory at the Southwestern College pool.
“The Mater Dei game was an eye-opener,” Legg admitted. “But we bounced back over the weekend at the San Diego Open tournament with a win against La Costa Canyon. We’ve got to just keep playing the way we’ve been playing. We’re playing our best water polo right now.
“Against Mater Dei, our guys kept their composure and battled back, they played hard. But give credit to Mater Dei, they played a very good game.”
Sophomore Nate Niehaus paced Eastlake (12-8 overall) with nine goals in Wednesday’s game.
“It’s been either Nate or Johnny (Velazquez),” Legg said. “Both play on the one-two side, and one’s going to have a big game. If Johnny’s on top and Nate is down low, Nate is going to put away his shots.”
Velazquez, who had been punishing league foes so far this season, scored just twice on Wednesday while single goals went to teammates Sal Gomez, Zach Randall, Kyle Schauer and goalie Ricky Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, firing from his own goalie position, put the ball into the Barons’ cage on the final shot of the first quarter to break a 3-3 deadlock. The Titans never trailed again in the contest.
Bryan Murillo led Bonita Vista (2-2 in league) with four goals.
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