Some Orange County high school boys’ water polo teams see the first round of the CIF Southern Section playoffs as a mere formality, a steppingstone to bigger fish to fry and semifinal and final games under the lights at Irvine’s Woollett Aquatics Center.
Edison has not traditionally been one of those teams. But this year’s Chargers would definitely like to make that type of run.
They got off to a good start Tuesday. Senior Cameron Davidson scored four goals and junior Dane Howell made the game-winning lob shot late as host Edison upset Tesoro 10-9 in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs at Ocean View High.
“I think this is the [furthest] that Edison has gone, at least in the past 20 years,” Edison third-year coach Sean Little said. “I know we have had wild-card wins, but for so long we were Division 1. We would lose in the wild-card game, or we would definitely lose in the first round.”
Edison (16-13) plays at Palos Verdes Peninsula (17-7) in the second round on Thursday.
The Chargers, who finished second in the Wave League, almost suffered another first-round defeat. But they made plays late to beat Tesoro (13-15), the third-place team from the South Coast League that finished the regular season ranked No. 8 in Division 3.
Tesoro took its only lead of the match, at 9-8, when Jack Stevens scored from five meters with 5:31 left in the fourth quarter. Edison responded.
Davidson scored a six-on-five goal 62 seconds later, knotting the score. It was his 116th goal of the season, as he continues to add to his Edison single-season record. Alex Nathan had the previous Edison mark of 103 goals in 2015.
“It feels good,” Davidson said. “It’s hard to score over 100 goals. I mean, it’s hard to score 50 goals in a year. It’s not just me. My teammates set me up every play.”
On the other end, Tesoro’s Jackson Butler drew a penalty shot with 1:58 to play, but Edison junior goalkeeper Caden Martin (10 saves) made the block on David Brandt with his left hand to keep the score tied.
Martin converted from field player to goalie this season because the Chargers needed someone in the cage.
“He’s been a wall all year,” Davidson said. “He played great today. They score that five-meter, who knows what happens? Without that block, who knows what happens?”
What actually happened was Howell coming up huge. His first goal of the game, a cross-cage lob from the left with 1:31 to play, gave the Chargers a 10-9 lead. On the defensive end, Howell also didn’t allow Tesoro’s Harrison McCormick to get a shot off at center in the closing seconds.
Ethan Galaz, Athen Martindale, Michael Burgard, Spencer Powley and Wyatt Wood each scored one goal for the Chargers. Howell made a team-best four steals, and Luke Burgard added two steals.
Edison finished second in league to Los Alamitos, but it has moved past that disappointment in the postseason, Little said.