Villa Park, ranked second in Orange County in water polo, had to settle for second place in the Century League--again.
For the fifth consecutive season, Foothill defeated the Spartans for the league title. This time Foothill, top-ranked in the county, prevailed, 11-6, Wednesday at Foothill. It was the 25th consecutive victory in league for the Knights (23-2, 5-0), who have built one of the county's most consistent winners.
Villa Park (21-5, 4-1) is no slouch itself, but the Spartans don't have the depth of the Knights and it showed.
Trailing by five at the start of the fourth quarter, the Spartans had little chance to mount a rally because three of its players had been ejected. Another, Kyle Baumgarner, Villa Park's top two-meter man, played nearly the entire game in foul trouble, after picking up his second personal after three minutes had elapsed in the first quarter.
Baumgarner was moved to goalkeeper for a bit more than a quarter to help him avoid his third--and disqualifying--foul.
Baumgarner, a former goalie, fared well in the cage. He had three saves and held Foothill to one goal in the second quarter. Villa Park had a chance to tie the score at 4 late in the quarter but rushed a shot on a man-advantage situation.
Foothill quickly capitalized on the miss. Matt McPherson, who finished with a team-high four goals, scored on a skip shot from eight meters at the buzzer to make it 5-3.
Villa Park's success slowing Foothill's offense was short-lived, however. Knight two-meter man Robby Arroyo scored from inside on the first possession of the third quarter and the Knights scored three more before Villa Park scored again.
Villa Park's frustration was evident. After scoring his fourth goal on a long-skip shot to make it 11-6 with five seconds left Nick Pacelli was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.