The Cabrillo boys water polo team found peace of knowing that this time the Conquistadores didn’t need to travel to start the CIF Southern Section postseason.
And the Conqs looked comfortable and energized inside the Lompoc Aquatics Center, firing off five goals in the first quarter before cruising to a 14-7 victory over Costa Mesa Estancia on Tuesday to open the CIF-SS Division 6 playoffs.
Since 2014, CHS began its pursuit of a CIF title in the Los Angeles area. But this time, the Conqs drew a home contest in the 32-team bracket – and immediately found the net right away.
“It was great to have a home game, great to win at home, great to have a nice crowd – it was fun,” Cabrillo coach Jeff Dacus said.
Josh Barrick got the Conqs on the scoreboard immediately after the first two minutes of play. Alex Epperson of Estancia responded with his goal to tie things up at 1-1. But then Cabrillo received a spark from a player who had been relatively quiet on the scoring end until this playoff contest: Joseph Campos.
Campos threw the yellow ball inside the net three straight times – putting CHS up with a commanding 4-1 lead. Cabrillo would go and never trail in the first round game. Campos’s performance brought a smile to Dacus’ face.
“He was a driving machine. He was getting open and it was paying off,” Dacus said. “It’s nice when that happens. Too often, you get guys driving and they don’t always get the ball or they miss the shot and they’re thinking ‘I’m not doing that again.’ I’ve seen him get open on lots of drives. I’ve been waiting for us to find the open driver. We do this a lot. With Joseph, it was nice to see his drives were paying off by getting goals.”
Isaac Thomas, who missed the Los Padres League title game last week due to a reported illness, fired the last goal of the first that made it 5-2. Thomas would go back-to-back from there in the second quarter – netting two more goals that brought the CHS lead to 8-2.
Once the third quarter began, Campos continued his scoring ways – adding another goal that made it 9-3. Senior Olat Luna then went long distance with his shot that zipped through the goalie and into the net, making it 10-3.
Luna would go on and score another goal during the third. Thomas and Rowe also fired the ball inside the net in the third. Defensively, Cabrillo was energized by the play of goalie Mitch Foster – who swatted the yellow ball three straight times in the fourth quarter that got the CHS water polo parents cheering for joy.
Overall, Dacus loved the enthusiasm from his group to start the CIF postseason.
“We came in fired up,” Dacus said.
Next up for CHS is now Whittier California, which had a bye to start the playoffs. That second round contest is slated for Thursday at 5 p.m. Dacus didn’t hesitate to say what his plans were for Halloween after the CHS win.
“I’ll be looking at them (California High) tonight,” Dacus said.