PREP ROUNDUP : San Clemente Wins on Late Goal
San Clemente’s Jeremy Laster scored with 51 seconds remaining in sudden-death overtime to give second-ranked San Clemente an 8-7 water polo victory over top-ranked Corona del Mar in the season opener for both teams Thursday at Saddleback College.
Corona del Mar, voted No. 1 in the Orange County coaches preseason poll, held a 7-4 lead with 5 minutes 16 seconds to play. Ted Simpkins led the Sea Kings with four goals.
Sean Lane’s two first-half goals kept San Clemente close. The Tritons game-tying rally came late in the fourth quarter, scoring on three consecutive six-on-five situations.
San Clemente sophomore Phinny Gardner scored two fourth quarter goals, closing the gap to 7-6 with 2:26 to play in regulation.
“Phinny almost played on the frosh/soph squad,” San Clemente Coach Steve Yancey said. “But he was great tonight; you don’t expect a sophomore to go and score two goals.”
Todd Pelkey completed the comeback, scoring with 56 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 7-7.
After playing a scoreless three-minute overtime period, Corona del Mar had its best chance to win when Alex Tahmoush broke in on Triton goalie Pat Ortiz.
Tahmoush lobbed the ball over the outstretched arms of Ortiz, but the ball hit the crossbar.
Ortiz grabbed the loose ball and left the rest up to Laster, whose game-winning goal gave San Clemente its first victory ever against Corona del Mar.
“Sure it’s a good feeling to finally beat Corona del Mar after getting pounded for the past five years,” Yancey said.
“But these early games don’t mean a whole lot. The only one that matters is the one on Nov. 27 (the CIF Southern Section Finals).”