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Hilltop's Howard sets school scoring records in boys water polo Phillip Brents | Thu, Oct 25 2012 05:45 PM

It might sound like a cliché to say that records are meant to be broken. But in the case of Hilltop High School senior Nick Howard, the records speak for themselves.

On Thursday, Howard established new school records for most goals scored in one game (19) and most goals scored in a single season (165) in the Lancers’ 26-6 Mesa League victory against the Otay Ranch Mustangs at the Parkway pool.

The 19 goals eclipse Howard’s previous school record of 17 goals scored in a game earlier this season. The 165 goals betters the 160 goals scored by Hilltop’s Daniel Street in 1993.

It’s taken 19 years for anyone at the west side Chula Vista school to set a new standard for excellence.

“Obviously, it’s an incredible honor for Danny Street to have held the record for so long,” Hilltop coach John Salts said. “That goes to show how incredible a player he was.

“Nick is a once in a generation type of player. What’s great about Nick is that he’s an incredible player and also humble about it. He leads the state in goals scored and is second in the state in assists (to Hilltop teammate Carlos Uribe), which shows he's a team player. It’s been a blessing to have him here; he’s helped everyone on the team become a better player.”

Howard scored 15 goals in the first half of Thursday’s game. He finished the game with eight steals and five assists. He put on the type of display that was just fun to watch as he excelled in every facet of the game.

Uribe tallied one goal while adding five assists and three steals while Josue Macias led the Lancers with nine goalie saves.

Andrew Sedan topped the Mustangs with three goals.

Hilltop upped its league record to 4-2, 12-8 overall. Otay Ranch saw its league record fall to 1-5.

The Lancers have three regular season games remaining, plus any playoff games should they qualify for post-season play.

Hilltop plays at Mater Dei Catholic on Tuesday, Oct. 30, and closes out regular season play with games on Thursday, Nov. 1, against Bonita Vista at Parkway and Friday, Nov. 2, at Mar Vista.

Next on the record list is the 177 regular season goals scored by Eastlake’s Felix Dion in 2009. Dion finished the season with 180 goals, including three goals scored in a playoff loss to Carlsbad.

Howard needs 12 goals to tie Dion’s regular season mark, which stands as the listed Metro Conference record.

Howard raised his San Diego Section record for most steals in one season to 172 following Thursday’s game.

“It’s been really fun,” said Howard, who transferred to Hilltop last year from Ventura High School where he was a one-time member of the 16U national team player pool. “I owe a lot to my teammates because they give me the ball. It's not just me. The record really belongs to everyone on the team.”

Howard said he plays best when he feels relaxed in the water. “I don’t feel a lot of pressure when I know my teammates have my back, when I know they’re going to take care of things,” he said.

“We play our best when everyone doesn’t feel pressured,” Uribe said. "We have a lot of good team chemistry."

"We're like brothers," Howard added.

The Lancers looked like a fine-tuned playoff team in Thursday’s game, which came in sharp contrast to Monday’s 10-6 loss to Eastlake in the battle for supremacy in the Mesa League standings.

Howard was held to just two goals in the game played at UC San Diego. He drew defensive pressure throughout the contest.

“We don’t do as well in big pools (like the one at UCSD),” Uribe said. “We’re used to playing in a smaller pool. We play well in our home pool at Parkway.

“Eastlake has better swimmers, which benefits them in a bigger pool.”

Uribe now has 111 assists in 20 games this season to go with 70 steals and 52 goals. He has a chance to finish among the section’s top single-season assist leaders.

Coronado’s Tom Mitchell (1989) ranks sixth in the section with 112. Ahead of Mitchell are Patrick Henry’s Dan Schumacher (1977) with 115, Bishop’s Tyler Kandel (2002) with 118, Hilltop’s Tom Martinez (1980) with 121, Crawford’s Tom Allen (1982) with 126 and section record holder Dave Comstock of Patrick Henry with 154, set in 1978.

The single-season section steals record had been 151, set in 2000 by Patrick Henry’s Ty Lackey.

Dion ranks in a tie for fourth place in the section record book for single-season goals. He is tied with Patrick Henry’s Roby Partovich (1980). Fallbrook’s Jacob Pril holds the section record at 220, set in 2009. Pril also scored 187 goals in one season in 2008. Valhalla’s Brett Ormsby holds down the No. 2 spot in the section record book after scoring 201 goals during the 2000 season.

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