Raiders take it to Highlanders
By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal
The Sonora boys water polo team jumped ahead of La Habra early and kept the pressure on until the game was out of reach going into the fourth quarter en route to a 16-8 victory at neutral Fullerton High School on Wednesday night.
The Raiders opened up their first Freeway League contest of the season strong, putting 5 goals on the board in each of the first and second quarters.
“Sonora has some strong shooters, a couple of those [shots] almost ripped the goal in two,” said Micah Klausman, Highlanders head coach.
An undermanned Highlanders squad, short two of their starting-seven struggled to contain the Raiders relentless wing attack for much of the contest.
The most impactful player missing for the Raiders tonight was set defender Matthew Cipes, who is out with a broken nose and will not be back until the final week of Freeway League play. The team was also without Nathan Daraban, but he will be back for the next game.
Klausman was quick to point out that the outcome tonight had nothing to do with who was not in the pool.
“Missing a couple guys is not why we lost tonight, Sonora is a really good team and just played phenomenal,” said Klausman.
The Raiders leading goal scorers tonight were juniors Conrad Napier with 6 and Benjamin Angulo with 4.
Despite the high score, junior goalkeeper Nick Venegas played a solid game under constant fire from the Raiders offense, finishing with 17 saves.
Under constant attack, the Highlanders couldn’t string together offensive sets with any consistency until the fourth period.
The Highlanders finally started to find success with a late surge in the fourth period, scoring 4 goals– doubling their total for the game, but it was simply too little, too late.
Justin Chen and Logan Robles led the way for the Highlanders offensively, scoring a pair of goals each.
The win tonight made it two impressive victories in as many days for the Raiders, after blowing out Don Lugo High 20-3 at home on Tuesday. The back-to-back wins was a nice turnaround for the Raiders, coming on the heels of a disappointing performance that saw them drop three straight in the inaugural Bull Run Tournament, which they hosted over the weekend.
“We played very well yesterday against Don Lugo and we played really well for three quarters today,” said Jim Sprague, Raiders head coach.
The Raiders (12-6, 1-0) will try to make it three straight when they travel south to take on Sunny Hills (1-3, 0-0) next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
The Highlanders (2-4,0-1) will be back in action again next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. taking on Buena Park (0-1, 0-1) at home.