Sports

Missed opportunities cost Highlanders against Sunny Hills

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La Habra’s Grant Harris winds up for a shot in the Highlanders’ 10-7 loss to Sunny Hills, Thursday on the road.

by Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Highlanders water polo team fell to the Sunny Hills Lancers, 10-7, in a Freeway League game, Thursday at Sunny Hills High.

The Highlanders (7-8, 1-1) failed to execute in some key situations and did not bring the same level of energy that the Lancers did.

“We had some moments today,” said La Habra coach David Edwards. “All in all, we were kind of slow and did not bring anywhere near the same intensity as our opponents.”

Sunny Hills (10-6, 1-1) had a 1-0 lead early in the game, which lasted all the way up until the one-minute mark of the quarter. With one minute remaining, Sean Pedersen scored off of a pass from Jacob Graham.

Just 12 seconds later, Sunny Hills answered with a goal by Kevin Chant to make it 2-1. It appeared that they would take the lead through the end of the quarter, but Pedersen added another goal with 32 seconds remaining, and tied the game at 2-2.

The Lancers began to pull away in the second and scored four goals. The Highlanders only had one, by Pedersen and were down 6-3 late in the second quarter. After two exclusions, La Habra had a 6-on-4 advantage with under 5 seconds left and failed to score.

La Habra's Michael Weir pushes the ball forward while Sunny Hills' Seth Nighswonger closes in during the Highlanders' 10-7 loss at Sunny Hills, Thursday afternoon.
La Habra’s Michael Weir pushes the ball forward while Sunny Hills’ Seth Nighswonger closes in during the Highlanders’ 10-7 loss at Sunny Hills, Thursday afternoon.

“We need to work on our advantage situations in practice,” said Edwards. “We have been spending a lot of time on them and they are getting it in practice. I guess it just hasn’t translated over to the games yet.”

The Highlanders began to make a push in the third quarter. An early goal by Michael Weir cut the deficit to 6-4.

Sunny Hills answered with one of their own to make it 7-4. La Habra then rattled off two unanswered goals. One was scored by Pedersen, and the other by Graham with an assist to Pedersen.

With just one minute left, it appeared the score would be 7-6 heading into the fourth quarter. Sunny Hills had other plans.

Connor Hart scored on a quick counter attack with 56 seconds left, to extend the lead to 8-6. With 18 seconds left, the Lancers struck again. This time on a goal by Seth Nighswonger, on a 6-on-5.

Pedersen scored his fifth and final goal less than 30 seconds into the fourth quarter to trim the deficit back down to two.

La Habra Coach David Edwards goes over game plans with his team during a timeout. The Highlanders fell to Sunny Hills 10-7, Tuesday afternoon on the road.
La Habra Coach David Edwards goes over game plans with his team during a timeout. The Highlanders fell to Sunny Hills 10-7, Tuesday afternoon on the road.

The Lancers added one last goal with 48 seconds left to ice the game.

The Highlanders will take on the Troy Warriors, Tuesday, at Troy, at 3:15 p.m.

“We need to hit it hard in practice,” Edwards said. “They are a good team and we need to tighten a lot of things up.”

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.