After a short storm in the morning, the afternoon presented a lively Dragon cheering section for the varsity boys’ water polo team’s final home game of the season. On Friday, the Dragons faced off against their league opponents, the Cate Rams, at the Buena High School pool. Foothill prevailed over Cate with a final score of 7-6.
The first quarter started with the Rams retrieving first possession of the ball, but they failed to convert on their first attempt of the game. The Dragons retaliated with multiple shot attempts, yet they were unable to score as well. With five minutes left in the first quarter, Cate scored the first goal of the game.
The Rams followed with two more goals in the next two minutes, making the score 3-0. The final two minutes of the quarter yielded no scoring at first, as Devon Pennington ‘18 and Nicholas Parker ‘18 attempted shots for the Dragons. However, Cate scored with two seconds left, and the Dragons could not score on a last second shot by Andres Coppa ‘18. At the end of the first quarter, the Rams had a 4-0 lead.
As the second quarter began, the Dragons started to slowly erase the lead that Cate had established in the first quarter. Parker scored within 30 seconds of the start of the quarter, cutting the Rams’ lead down to three. From this point, Foothill and Cate controlled the ball with precision, leading to almost three minutes without a score.
However, the Dragons struck again when Michael Aguilar ‘18 passed the ball to Garrett Mann ‘18, making the score 4-2. Numerous attempts by both Foothill and Cate followed Mann’s goal, but the score would stand when the buzzer sounded at the end of the first half. Although the Dragons still trailed 4-2, they had cut the Rams’ first quarter lead in half.
The third quarter introduced a new element into the game: the fans. Although the fans had been relatively quiet throughout the first half, the cheers grew louder when Tyler Liddell ‘19 scored twice for the Dragons in the first three minutes of the game, tying up the score at four. Thirty seconds later, the stands erupted as Coppa passed the ball to Aguilar, who scored for the Dragons, giving them a 5-4 lead.
The Rams tried to answer back and regain their lead, but they failed to score due to a series of defensive stops by Foothill. The ball went back and forth for the rest of the quarter until Evan Somma ‘17 scored with 35 seconds left, increasing the Dragons’ lead to two. The third quarter finally came to an end, and the scoreboard read 6-4 due to six unanswered goals by the Dragons.
The Dragons’ cheering section became louder than ever at the start of the fourth quarter. Foothill started the quarter with a fast break that almost led to a score, but it was called back by a penalty. Two minutes later, Coppa scored for the Dragons, making the score 7-4. However, the Rams wasted no time retaliating, scoring twice in the next two minutes. With two minutes left to play and a 7-6 lead, the fans were very much into the game, cheering after every defensive stop.
The biggest defensive stop came with a minute left in the game, as goalie Alex Abele ‘18 made a phenomenal clutch save on a line drive attempt from Cate. The Rams quickly got the ball back, but the ball was stolen by the Dragons with 20 seconds left in the game. Cate was forced to call a timeout, but it made no difference, as the Dragons held the ball for the remainder of the game. The final buzzer sounded, and the fans burst into cheers as the Dragons had prevailed over the Rams, 7-6.
Friday’s game was notably the last home game that the seniors would ever play in a Foothill uniform. Somma, one of the seniors, felt that “it was a pretty good way to end the season.”
“I’m just really thankful that we got to end [the regular season] on a good note,” he said.
When asked about the impact that the fans had on the game, Abele expressed his appreciation for the support of the team.
“I love the fact that adults, students, teachers, students, parents – everybody comes out to see us […] especially on fall break” and “it’s fun when you get the win at home [in front of the] fans,” he said.
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Coach David Wallace seemed to like his team’s play in their final home game.
“We played with teamwork [… and] we played with good energy,” Wallace said, “which makes a big difference.”
“We are going to have to play more physical against Carp” with “teamwork and physicality” to win, Wallace said.
The Dragons will play their final regular season game of the year in an away game at Carpinteria High School on Nov. 2.