First published in the Sept. 16 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
La Cañada’s varsity boys’ water polo team started last weekend with a blast, as the Spartans defeated host Glendale High, 18-11, on Friday, Sept. 10, in a nonleague game.
“I think our starting lineup did awesome,” said Gilbert Millanes, La Cañada’s head coach. “They were able to control the game, play for one another and especially help our younger starters.”
The first quarter was the highest-scoring period of the game, as each program scored five goals. La Cañada’s Aleksnader Nowaczeck scored the first goal with 6:37 left to play. The remainder of the quarter saw additional goals from La Cañada’s Lucas Quion (two goals), Ian Wipfli (one goal) and Miles Peters (one goal), as the Spartans and Glendale played tug-of-war for the lead. Ultimately, the Nitros scored the last goal of the quarter to even the score, 5-5.
In a repeat of the first quarter, Nowaczeck opened the scoring with 4:10 left to play to give LCHS the lead, 6-5. After the goal, the scoring began to pick up again from both sides of the pool. With LCHS down by one, a long-shot goal by Quion tied the game for the Spartans, 8-8. Then, with eight seconds left to play, Peters reclaimed the lead, 9-8, for LCHS.
LCHS started a bit sluggish compared to the previous two quarters, allowing Glendale to tie the match, 9-9, with 6:37 left to play. It wasn’t until a minute later that LCHS started to score again, but when it did, it never let up. After two goals by Glendale made it an 11-10 match, LCHS answered back with eight consecutive goals in the final two periods while holding the Nitros scoreless the rest of the way.
Third and fourth quarter goals by Nowaczeck (three goals), Peters (two goals), Tait Landswick, Quion and Wipfli helped solidify an 18-11 LCHS victory.
Goalkeeper Max Ratcliff had a fine day as well, with seven saves.
“[Peters, Nowaczeck and Quion] were the reason why we won this game, and obviously our goalie Max Ratcliff,” Millanes said. “Their experience really just helps and sets the tone for our younger players.”
The nonleague match between LCHS (5-2 overall record) and host Burbank Burroughs on Wednesday, Sept. 14, ended past the Valley Sun’s press deadline. The Spartans are scheduled to host Crescenta Valley in a nonleague matchup on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 3:30 p.m.