Flintridge Sacred Heart water polo caps day with victory

LOS ANGELES — On an afternoon when the biggest obstacle for the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy water polo team was the color of their caps, the Tologs showed why they're a force in the Mission League.

Host Flintridge Sacred Heart forced more turnovers than allowed shots in throttling Louisville en route to a 7-2 victory in league play Tuesday afternoon at Occidental College.

"Defensively, when you hold a good team down to [two goals], you have to be pleased," Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Carlos Ponce said. "Offensively, we struggled a little bit and I think maybe that has to do with the pool here, especially the shallow end. The main thing is that we got a win."

The Tologs (11-4 overall, 2-0 in league) began the day on the cusp of a potential forfeit loss when the squad brought its light caps, which is the designated color of the visiting team.

With both teams wearing white tops, the game official delayed the contest for half an hour until a Flintridge Sacred Heart parent brought the team its away dark caps.

"Anytime stuff like that happens, you start hitting the rule book," Ponce said. "There's nothing in the rulebook that states something about caps not being here on time, which delays the game or forfeits the game. That's more U.S. Water Polo or club ball and stuff like that. Luckily, [Louisville's] coach was very [gracious]."

As for the contest, senior Maddy Dulcich led the way with four goals, including one on a six-on-five opportunity set up on a kick out of Louisville's Isabella Lipp and off an assist from Electra Williams with 4:32 left in the first quarter.

Dulcich scored two goals in the first quarter, as the Tologs received all the offense they needed in going up, 3-0, after one.

Dulcich also tallied her team's lone goal of the second quarter as the Tologs took a 4-0 advantage with 6:44 remaining in the half.

"It's definitely nice to get up and get an advantage, although I wouldn't call 4-0 very comfortable," said Dulcich, who swapped a No. 14 cap after the first quarter to her normal No. 10 for the rest of the contest. "Anything can happen, so you have to work as a team and make sure you're still playing."

While the Tologs' offense did sputter the rest of the contest, the defense was on lockdown.

Louisville (0-1 in league) finished with 18 turnovers versus 16 shots, with eight of those attempts coming in the fourth quarter.

Louisville finally answered with its first goal from Lipp with 2:55 left in the second quarter as the Tologs took a 4-1 lead into the half.

Lipp's goal preceded another drought, as the Royals didn't score again until the 3:18 mark in the fourth quarter as Louisville pulled within 5-2.

Just when it seemed the screws were tightening on Flintridge Sacred Heart, the Tologs countered with a brilliant seven-meter score from Alex Tighe off an assist from Lana Sarkisian and another score from Allison Pieroni with 2:02 left that cemented the 7-2 score.

Flintridge Sacred Heart goalie Trisha Canessa finished with four saves, while Royals keeper Leilah Yanni did a stout job of allowing her team to hang around as she finished with nine saves.