Highlanders drop crucial league game in double overtime
The La Habra Highlanders’ boys water polo team lost a heart-breaker to Sunny Hills in the form of an 8-7 defeat in double overtime, Tuesday afternoon at La Habra High.
The Highlanders were at a disadvantage before the game even started. Their leading scorer, Sean Pedersen, did not play for personal reasons.
The game was knotted at 7-7 after four quarters. No scoring happened in the first overtime, despite two six-on-fives, for the Lancers, in the period. They had another one in the second overtime but could not score.
However, La Habra gave Sunny Hills one last six-on-five with 24 seconds left in the game. This time, with just three seconds remaining, Matthew Chang threw in the game-winning goal.
“Sometimes I do not understand our six-on-five defense,” said La Habra head coach David Edwards. “I knew what Sunny Hills was going to do when they were up, and I thought the team did, yet we gave them two late goals from the slot.”
The Lancers (18-8, 5-2) also tied the game with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter on a six-on-five goal.
The Highlanders (12-12, 4-3) needed someone to rise to the occasion, and Michael Weir did early on. Weir had two of the Highlanders’ three goals in the first quarter, and was a big reason the game was tied. He added a third goal in the third quarter.
“Michael was huge for us today,” Edwards said. “We needed someone to step up in Pedersen’s absence and he did.”
Senior Grant Harris was another player they were looking at to step up, but he only put up one goal and two assists. Maverick Chen also stepped up with two goals.
However, late in the game, the Highlanders had too many lapses and let the Lancers come back from 7-5 down in the fourth to steal the win.
“As much as we wanted to win the game, I am very proud of the way our boys played,” Edwards said. “We played Sunny Hills close without our leading scorer.”
With the loss, the Highlanders fall to 4-3 in Freeway League play. They will now play a very important game, Thursday against Troy.
La Habra upset the Warriors earlier in the year and want to prove that it was not a fluke.
“We have a lot to prove in that game,” Edwards said. “We need to let them know that we are a better team than them and that was not a one-time thing.”