Posted on 26 September 2013 by La Habra Journal
La Habra goalkeeper Corey Edwards rises to deflect a shot from El Segundo during the Highlanders’ 11-6 loss, Thursday at La Habra High.
by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal
Frustration was a key word for the La Habra water polo team, which dropped to El Segundo 11-6 at home in a nonleague game, Thursday afternoon.
The Eagles manipulated their way into several exclusion scenarios, but while El Segundo struggled to capitalize on most of them, the team battled through enough in the first half for a comfortable lead that they held throughout.
“I still think it’s a good game for us this early in the season, we have to take our lumps,” said David Edwards, La Habra head coach. “I intentionally played El Segundo here so that our team could get used to small water, that way we’re not shocked when league play comes around. They were a little more aggressive than we were, the played to the refs well.”
Michael Weir led the Highlanders with three goals, while Garrett Roberts added two goals and two assists.
La Habra standout Sean Pedersen was held scoreless on nine shots and was ejected for most of the third quarter before coming back in the fourth.
“He’s been struggling a little bit out of set and you can see the frustration is setting in,” Edwards said. “It’s not from calls, it’s from a series of games where he hasn’t gotten the ball into the cage. We’re trying to get him back on track.”
The Highlanders struggled to connect in the middle quarters, putting up single goals, which led to a 10-4 deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
While La Habra’s defense operated well in stopping El Segundo’s 6-on-5 opportunities, the Highlanders offense also struggled in 6-on-5 chances.
“Our outside shooters didn’t do as much as they did against Canyon and that’s where I felt we could have capitalized a little bit more,” Edwards said. “[El Segundo] was dropping back, they were limiting our amount of time possession in set. Our outside shooters were hesitant today.”
Both teams scored two early goals in the first quarter before El Segundo clamped down on defense and took a 4-2 lead on goals by Nickolas Paz and Joe Doucette.
The Eagles pulled away in the second quarter with two scores by Kurt Frerichs. The Highlanders scored with five seconds remaining on a shot by Weir to put the halftime deficit at 7-3.
In the third quarter, things boiled over for the Highlanders as El Segundo continued to find ways to gain the man advantage.
La Habra’s Jacob Dodds has his eyes on the cage while El Segundo’s Nickolas Paz attempts to defend in the Highlanders’ 11-6 loss to El Segundo, Thursday at La Habra High.
“I think they were able to earn some exclusions that were unnecessary,” Edwards said. “Ducking under a guy who is just swimming, I think is a dumb exclusion when our guy is clearly showing he’s not swimming over the top. I don’t think they capitalized as much as they could have though, our defense did well.”
After Pedersen’s ejection, the Eagles tacked on two more goals to seemingly put the game out of reach.
Weir added a goal early in the fourth quarter, but defense took over once again as El Segundo held on for the victory.
The Eagles were led offensively by Paz, who scored three goals. Frerichs and Mattie Giglio added two goals each.
La Habra will play another tough nonleague opponent in Edison next Monday at Huntington Beach High.
PHOTOS BY SHANE MORINES, LA HABRA JOURNAL