Sports

La Habra polo routes Fullerton in league start

By Nathan Percy

La Habra Journal

The La Habra boys water polo team improved its start in the Freeway League with a 20-8 victory over Fullerton, Thursday afternoon at Fullerton High.

The Highlanders got contributions from all around as four different players scored at least three goals and nine players had at least one.

Sean Pedersen led with four goals and Ben Russell scored three and assisted five goals as the Highlanders built an early lead and held up the pace in the second half.

“Across the board I feel like I have a good range of scorers,” said David Edwards, La Habra head coach. “If someone isn’t on, someone else is usually there to pick it up. We won’t have a top scorer in the county, but a lot of our guys will be up there.”

That fast start led La Habra to a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Grant Harris opened up the scoring by collecting a loose ball and flipping it over Fullerton goalkeeper Chris Keller.

Pedersen would score the first of his two first-period goals less than a minute later on a man-advantage.

La Habra converted on five of its seven opportunities with the man-advantage.

“It helps,” Edwards said. “We have been improving in six-on-five and in fact that’s what we focused on in practice because we have not been very good in those situations this season.”

Russell also scored two of his three goals in the first period.

Everett Briggs put Fullerton on the board less than a minute into the second quarter, but La Habra again went on a run, knocking in two goals on the counterattack from Jeremy LeVan and Pedersen.

The Highlanders led 11-2 at the half.

“We like to come out hard because some teams can’t handle the moral dilemma,” Edwards said. “Sunny Hills is one of those teams that keeps fighting, but we try to come out early and see if we can get a team demoralized early on, maybe we can take the fight out of them.”

Fullerton opened up the second half with two quick goals from Austin Kiloh and Robert Winder, but the Indians would get no closer as the Highlanders closed out the period on a 5-1 run.

Winder paced the Indians attack with four goals.

Brisco Yoak added a goal on a penalty shot in the fourth quarter and goalkeeper Corey Edwards had the bulk of his seven saves in the final frame as La Habra rode out the victory.

“The defense needs to tighten up a bit,” Edwards said. “I feel like we could have disallowed some of their six-on-five goals, but our offense is starting to earn us some goals.”

The Highlanders will get right back at it tomorrow afternoon as they take on Edison High, a Division 1 team, at La Mirada Splash with the hopes that it will help prepare them for the league contenders.

“The intensity of that game will prepare us for the Troy game next week,” Edwards said. “They’re a Division 1 team and that’s why I scheduled to have that game.”

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