From the 3:20 mark to the 1:26 mark of the fourth quarter, Santa Ynez boys water polo began to catch fire on offense in the pool.
The Pirates flung four goals during that final sequence – lifting them to the 9-4 Channel League win against Cabrillo on Thursday.
Jake Healy got the scoring going with his throw at 3:20, extending the Pirate lead to 6-4. Then along came Mateo Del Solar with his shot 19 seconds later – elevating the lead to 7-4.
Henry Allen (2:49) and Keller Haws (1:26) tacked on the final goals for the Pirates in this Channel League duel. Santa Ynez’s record now improves to 12-6 overall and 2-1 in the C.L.
Pirates head coach Jake Kalkowski said he liked how his team snapped out of a slow start – plus the early stout play of All-League goalie Chase Fichtner of Cabrillo.
“We started a little slow. But our defense definitely started to pick up. I was happy that we didn’t back off offensively but kept our defense going just as strong,” Kalkowski said. “We always try to keep a defensive focus and in that game, it definitely showed up.”
Cabrillo’s last goal came at 4:23 of the fourth, when Joseph Min fired the ball inside the net.
The game went back-and-forth, but it was Fichtner who made it difficult early on for the Pirates to score right off the bat.
Fichtner executed four blocks inside the net in the first and managed to help hold SYHS to a 2-1 deficit. Fichtner continued his stellar goalkeeping – swatting the ball three more times in the second and allowing just one goal.
Healy ended the first half with his goal at the 19-second mark, tying things up at 2-2.
But the Pirates began to pull away from there. Allen, Haws and Clayton Davidson – on a bounce shot in the water – all scored for the Pirates in the third and built a 5-3 lead.
While Kalkowski raved about the offensive display, he was especially in awe for his goalie Drake Clark – who went on to hold CHS to just two goals the rest of the second half.
“He’s got games when he’s just on it completely,” Kalkowski said. “He definitely showed up for the game today and an important one at that. Cabrillo always give us their best and they took it to us early on. They got us on our heels a little bit. But I was happy with our boys.”
As for Jeff Dacus, the CHS head coach pointed that in the end, it became a game of missed opportunities.
“Three times they got some good shots off. It just didn’t go our way. Maybe it was fatigue or we lost our focus in the end,” Dacus said.
He immediately told his guys after the game to put the loss aside and move forward.
“I want to just see them hold their heads high, shake this off and get ready for the next game,” Dacus said. “You win some, you lose some – and we’re going to move forward.”
Josh Rowe and Garrett Stanton also scored for CHS – with the latter scoring twice.