Wed, Nov 02 2011 01:07 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Eastlake High School’s boys water polo team appears to be peaking at the right time of the season, or more appropriately said, the post-season.
It will be in the upcoming San Diego Section playoffs that the 2011 Titans will have their legacy written. Will the history books tout it as the best ever showing by an Eastlake team?
Few would dispute that this year’s EHS squad has done all the right things to earn the honor as the best ever team in school history. It will soon be time to prove that in the water.
The Division I playoffs face off Nov. 9, with quarterfinal-round action scheduled Nov. 11, semifinals on Nov. 15 and championship round games on Nov. 19.
The Titans made history by winning their first-ever playoff game last year. However, for their reward, top-seeded Vista promptly handed them a 20-0 defeat in the quarterfinal round.
This year’s EHS team expects to be seeded much higher than last year’s No. 8 draw when the playoff seeding is announced on Monday.
The Titans could only enhance their seeding position following last weekend’s fifth-place showing in the 40-team San Diego Open tournament — an event that annual serves as a barometer for post-season success.
Eastlake finished 4-1 with key victories against Granite Hills, Grossmont, Poway and Mount Carmel. The Titans’ lone loss was to Torrey Pines, 10-8, in what EHS coach Chris Barrick termed “a very physical, tough game.”
More than 600 athletes competed in the tournament. Eastlake, drum roll, had three players honored with all-tournament team selections.
Adam Hilborn earned first team all-tournament honors after scoring 30 goals in five games.
Rhett McGinty and Eric Hum each were second team all-tournament team picks.
McGinty mustered 43 goalie blocks during the tournament, including two blocks on five-meter penalty shots.
Hum made 26 steals as the Titans’ two-meter defender while playing mostly one-on-one defense with some of the better two-meter centers in San Diego County.
But anyone in the EHS program will give credit for the team’s success this season to teamwork.
“As their coach, I’m extremely proud of the way each and every one of our players played over the weekend,” Barrick said. “All of our wins were complete team efforts and every one of our players played a positive roll in our success. Our team set a shining example of sportsmanship and the proper way to win in this tournament. In the tough loss to Torrey Pines, they showed complete class in the way they handled themselves after the game. Our boys played like champions.”
When Barrick added the words “well done” to the above, it drove home the real accomplishment this Titan crew turned in.
Eastlake opened tournament play on Oct. 24 with victories against East County powers Granite Hills (8-7) and Grossmont (11-6). The Titans drew a rematch with Poway, last year’s first-round playoff opponent. Eastlake captured last Friday’s “Clash of the Titans” match-up 16-9.
Eastlake then drew Torrey Pines, the team champion at the season opening Poway Invitational. The teams had met at midseason, with the Falcons claiming a 9-5 non-league win.
This time, the Titans brought an improved game plan to the pool, but it took some added heroics to stay afloat. Eastlake entered the fourth quarter without three key starters: Dylan Chase, Hum and Mike Tong. Additionally, Josue Alvarez was playing with a broken bone in his hand and was limited in playing time.
“ We went into the fourth quarter tied at seven and they just beat us with our subs in the game,” Barrick said, adding “a tough loss for sure.”
Eastlake rebounded on Saturday by defeating Mt. Carmel 9-5.
The Titans close out Mesa League play Friday with a 7 p.m. game at the Loma Verde pool against Otay Ranch. Eastake is 7-0 in league play this season and in search of nailing down the team’s fourth consecutive league championship.
In a non-league game on Tuesday, the Titans improved to 19-9 overall following a 9-7 victory against Rancho Buena Vista. Eastlake led, 7-3, entering the fourth quarter.
Hilborn scored six goals while Hum, Chase and Tong each had one goal. Hum now has 132 steals for the season and is one short of the CIF record for steals in a season. Barrick is projecting he will get the record number Friday against Otay Ranch.
For the season, Hilborn has collected 118 goals, 27 assists and 36 steals in 28 games. Chase ranks second with 58 goals to go with 33 assists and 50 steals while Tong ranks third with 40 goals to go with 18 assists and 19 steals. Alvarez has 23 goals to go with 31 assists and 49 steals while Hum has accumulated 18 goals and 35 assists to go with his team-high steals.
Also for the Titans, Johnny Velasquez has totaled 18 goals and 12 steals while Tyler Rowean has scored 11 goals and made 22 steals. Kevin Cochran has contributed six goals and 16 steals while Jian Miclat and Jian Laxina each have scored five goals.
McGinty has 203 blocks to go with a .536 blocking percentage.
Hilltop, Bonita Vista, Mar Vista and Otay Ranch joined Eastlake in this year’s San Diego Open field.
Hilltop finished 3-2 with victories against Point Loma (11-9), Lincolon from Oregon (13-9) and Valley Center (13-10) and setbacks against Mt. Carmel (16-12) and Steele Canyon (11-9).
Bonita Vista finished 2-3 with wins against Mar Vista (12-10) and High Tech High (12-7) and losses to Newport (14-5), El Capitan (10-9) and Del Norte (12-8).
Mar Vista finished 2-3 with victories against Otay Ranch (19-8) and Point Loma (15-11) and losses to Rancho Buena Vista (19-11), Steele Canyon (9-8) and the Barons.
Otay Ranch finished 0-5 with losses to Westview (15-3), Lincoln (12-5), High Tech (8-4), Monte Vista (10-7) and the Mariners.
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