Shawn Hobson ….. LA JOLLA – The Vista High School boys water polo team rallied back from an early deficit, but it wasn’t enough as La Jolla High prevailed 7-6 in a CIF San Diego Section Division I semifinal game at the Coggan Family Aquatic Center on Wednesday night.
The Vikings scored four goals in the first quarter. Nico Ivanov scored the first two goals, and Simon Hirschfield scored the third goal for La Jolla. Myles Martinez threw the ball into the net with 15 seconds left to play in the opening frame for the Vikings (12-15).
Photos by Shawn Hobson
It’s the third time this season that the Panthers have lost to La Jolla by a score of 7-6. Vista did beat La Jolla once this year by a score of 9-8 on Oct. 31. That was the last time that these two teams played so the Panthers (13-16) felt optimistic going into the match.
“I thought we were going to be ready to play,” Vista High coach Dave Spence said. “We just panicked in that first quarter. It was brutal. We were clearly not ready. I think our team may have been a little stressed.”
After a scoreless second quarter, Vista began its rally in the second half. Joshua Spence tossed three goals into the net for the Panthers in the third quarter. Hirschfield’s second goal made the score 5-3 in favor of the Vikings going into the final frame.
The Panthers tied the score at 6-6 when Tannyr Horton scored with 2:15 left to play. The Vikings soon reclaimed the lead though. La Jolla’s Connor Carpenter scored a six-on-five goal with 1:39 to play. Vista tried to respond, but La Jolla goalie Douglas Webster blocked a shot from Mitchell Scott.
Going into the semifinal matchup, both teams knew the game would be close since all four games played against one another this season ended by a one-goal margin.
“We know each other really well,” La Jolla coach Tom Atwell said. “I’m really proud of my boys. We also knew that whoever won this game was probably going to win CIF.”
It’s the first time ever that the La Jolla boys have advanced to the CIF Finals. The Vikings will play Vahalla, a 6-5 winner over Fallbrook, for the CIF Division I title Saturday at 4:45 p.m.
Vista Goals: J. Spence 4, Sean Lewis 1, Horton 1. La Jolla Goals: Ivanov 2, Hirschfield 2, Martinez 1, John Murphy 1, Carpenter 1. Vista Saves: Gaylon Bonwell 4. La Jolla Saves: Webster 8. Shots on goal: Vista 25. La Jolla 21. Records: Vista 13-16. La Jolla 12-15.