Brown’s Salvo Sparks Foothill in Division I


Villa Park came up with a way to slow down the Foothill water polo team this time, but the Spartans couldn’t stop Brian Brown in the third quarter, and Foothill held on to win, 8-7, in Southern Section Division I title game Wednesday night at Belmont Plaza.

Foothill, which dominated Villa Park in their Century League game, winning, 11-4, had a tough time with the Spartans this time and trailed, 4-2, at the half.

But Brown scored five third-quarter goals, almost single-handedly rallying Foothill. Brown, the Knights’ leading scorer, had struggled in the first half against third-seeded Villa Park (26-5).

During one four-possession stretch in the second quarter, Brown missed two shots, made a bad pass and was called for an offensive foul. On defense, he committed a four-meter penalty on one play and got beat by Joey Pacelli on another, the mistakes leading to Villa Park’s two goals in the quarter.


“I was kind of struggling on offense,” Brown said, “and I made mental lapses on defense a couple of times. After halftime, I knew I had to pick it up. So I did.”

After Scott Hay scored a man-advantage goal with 5 minutes 57 seconds left in the third quarter to cut Villa Park’s lead to 4-3, Brown started his onslaught. He scored on a man-advantage goal, a skip shot from the hole and a man-advantage goal from eight meters to give Foothill its first lead of the game.

“The three straight goals killed them,” Brown said. “It swung the momentum our way. In the first half it was all them.”

After Aaron Waldrip tied the score on a long skip shot with 1:37 left, Brown scored the final two goals of the quarter, including one with five seconds left.

Villa Park, which held Foothill scoreless in the second and fourth quarter, scored in the first minute of the fourth quarter on a deflected shot by Peter Cornue.

The Spartans had several shots narrowly miss after that and with 20 seconds left Cornue missed a wide-open shot on a misdirection play after a timeout.

Foothill, playing in its second Southern Section final and its first in Division I, then ran out the clock on its first section title in water polo.