LA CAÑADA — With an undefeated league record, the Chadwick High boys’ water polo team sat atop the Prep League looking down at defending champion Flintridge Prep.
To have a chance to retain their league crown, the Rebels needed to defeat the Dolphins in their home pool.
Flintridge Prep’s Hakop Kaplanyan and Will Fosselman each recorded hat-tricks that helped the Rebels stave off visiting Chadwick, 9-8, in a Prep League rematch on Tuesday.
“We had a couple key goals, and we had a couple let-downs on the defensive side — just easy goals let in. But it’s just a testament to our season and how much work they put in this entire summer,” Flintridge Prep coach Andrew Phillips said. “They’ve been going five months and I feel like we haven’t seen it pay off until this game. We put it all together for a full four quarters and that was the biggest thing.”
The win improves Flintridge Prep a 6-6 and 3-2 in the Prep League.
The loss was Chadwick’s first in league, but the Dolphins still maintain a share of the top spot with a 4-1 league record.
The two teams traded off scoring for much of the match.
The Rebels and Dolphins were tied at 2 after one quarter before Flintridge Prep outscored Chadwick, 2-1, in the second. The Dolphins matched that with a 2-1 third quarter for a 5-5 tie.
Kaplanyan scored the go-ahead goal with 3:52 left in the match on a crucial five-meter penalty shot to put the Rebels up, 8-7.
“When it’s that close of a game, like when it’s tied or when you’re down by one, those goals just push you forward,” Kaplanyan said.
Fosselman scored the insurance goal with an assist from Kaplanyan with 2:40 left for a 9-7 Rebels lead.
“We played Brentwood last Friday, who was probably our best competition in our league, and we got really high really quickly and we went up immediately, 6-1, and that was the best water polo we’ve played as a team,” Fosselman said. “The issue was that it wasn’t that consistent. That’s how we lost because we lost that spark, and when we lost that spark, we got too low on ourselves and started beating ourselves up.
“But, this game, we really stayed together and we were just calm and composed and probably played the most relaxed water polo we played in a while.”
Ian Davies, Diego Barraclough, and Matthew Gamboa all scored for the Rebels and Kaplanyan and Gamboa each tallied a pair of assists.
Fosselman opened the scoring for the Rebels before Chadwick scored twice for a 2-1 Dolphins lead in with 3:26 left in the first quarter. Kaplanyan tallied the equalizer before the period ended.
Fosselman and Barraclough added a pair of goals in the second period for a 4-3 Rebels lead going into halftime. Chadwick scored a pair in the second half to retake the lead, 5-4.