Posted on 10 October 2013 by La Habra Journal
Sparked by a late third quarter rally, the Sonora boys’ water polo team broke away from Fullerton in the second half, leading to an 8-5 league win, Thursday afternoon at Sonora High.
After the Indians tied the game midway through the third quarter, Sonora scored three goals within the final 1:39 of the quarter to take a 7-4 lead into the final frame.
With plenty of help from goalkeeper Nick Angulo, who turned away 17 Fullerton shots in all, the Raiders held off Fullerton in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we did a good job shutting down their offense,” said Stephen Kim, Sonora coach. “Nick played a huge game today. He was the one that really stepped up.”
Knowing that Fullerton would try to stop the Raiders two-meter offense, Sonora’s game plan going in was on outside shots.
Unfortunately, execution wasn’t on the mark early on as the Raiders (6-11, 1-1) were hasty on shots from the outside, leaving them susceptible to counterattacks.
“We left ourselves vulnerable because we were impatient running our offense,” Kim said. “We weren’t taking the best shots possible. That’s when Fullerton made a run back, but I think for the most part we stuck to the game plan.”
Luckily for Sonora, that’s where Angulo left his mark.
“Absolutely fantastic game out of our goalie today,” said Jim Sprague, Sonora coach. “He said us today. He was tremendous, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
The Raiders never trailed and only saw the score tied once after scoring their first goal on a Fullerton deflection over four minutes into the first quarter.
Jack Thurman and Richard Atnip added first-quarter goals to give Sonora an early 3-1 lead.
Fullerton’s counterattacks netted two goals in the second quarter, both coming from the powerful arm of Dave Tsuda.
But Sonora responded quickly to Tsuda’s first goal, as Vasili Nazaroff hit the left corner to keep Sonora in the lead at halftime.
“We took a lot of shots early on that we shouldn’t have,” Sprague said. “It’s hard to run an offense when guys are shooting early. I have to give credit to [Fullerton], they did a nice job, they came out and hustled, they didn’t have a lot of fire power, yet they came after us.”
Fullerton (2-7, 0-2) broke even in the third quarter on an inside shot by Everett Briggs, coming off a nice assist by Emilio Alvarado. Briggs also scored in the first quarter for Fullerton.
With less than two minutes remaining, Sonora called timeout. The Raiders came out and displayed patience on offense, waiting for their opportunities.
Daniel Babashoff put the Raiders on top for good by lofting a shot into the right corner of the cage. Matt Ferguson added a goal one minute later, both were assisted by Atnip.
“They went on a run and we weren’t really doing anything,” Sprague said. “We got some unexpected goals from guys that we don’t normally expect to see. That helped a ton.”
Then, Angulo hit a buzzer-beater that slid off Fullerton goalkeeper Erik Portillo’s right arm and into the left corner of the cage to increase the lead to three goals.
Alex Alkoraishi scored early in the fourth quarter for Fullerton. The Raiders responded with an outside shot by Dominik Kus.
In all, seven different Raiders scored. Atnip scored once and assisted two goals.
“The win feels good, our guys are excited about it,” Kim said. “In terms of how big the first league win is, we’ll have to wait and see.”
The Raiders continue their hectic week with three games in the Hank Vellekamp Tournament, Saturday starting at 8:55 a.m.