HUNTINGTON BEACH — Not a driving rain, or blustery winds, could stop the mighty Chargers.
The Dos Pueblos Chargers, that is.
The top-seeded team had a tough battle early with the Edison Chargers but behind its experienced lineup and star power inside, scored a 12-8 second-round victory in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs Friday at the Ocean View High pool.
Despite leading from start to finish, Dos Pueblos Coach Chris Parrish said his team was a little jittery at the start of the game which began in a heavy downpour.
His squad, which brought a 64-game win streak into the quarterfinal matchup, didn't find things easy early against Edison.
"To tell you the truth, we were a little nervous coming into this game," he said. "We were playing against the hottest team in the division. Edison was playing really good water polo and we were a bit concerned. I think that showed early. We weren't getting the plays we wanted but started to execute in the second quarter. That allowed us to take control of the game."
Edison, the No. 8 seed, was playing its third game in four games. The Chargers, who finished third behind Los Alamitos and No. 4-seeded Newport Harbor in the Sunset League, had to beat Northwood in a wild-card game Tuesday to earn a first-round game. They did just that, winning, 15-6, then went to Mira Costa Wednesday and scored a 13-6 win over the Mustangs.
The Chargers were confident coming into Friday's quarterfinal game.
"We felt we could play with them, and we did," Edison Coach Diggy Riley said. "We had one day to prepare for them, literally, and that's a tough thing to do when you play a talented team like that. But coming into this, we weren't really afraid of them.
"I thought we did a great job in the second half where we outscored them. We were right there in the first quarter and early in the second quarter but Dos Pueblos presses so well in the lanes and that leads to turnovers. We made some mistakes in the second quarter and they, unfortunately, cost us."
Channel League champion Dos Pueblos went up 3-0 on an opening goal by Kodi Hill and back-to-back scores by Jamie Neushul. Edison did get to within 4-2 early in the second quarter. Jessica Becker gave Edison its first score on a shot from the left side with 27 seconds left in the opening quarter and Alys Williams scored from close range two minutes into the second quarter. But Dos Pueblos answered with a 5-0 spurt that gave them control at 7-2. The final goal during the run came from Kiley Neushul who scored off a pretty pass from Hill.
Dos Pueblos led 8-3 at the half with a majority of their goals either coming off an Edison turnover or in a man-advantage situation. The Chargers built the lead to 12-4 two minutes into the fourth quarter when Jamie Neushul converted a penalty shot. Edison scored the final four goals of the game.
Williams and Haley Kunert both had three goals to lead the Edison offense. Melissa Balding also had a goal.
Edison goalie Sydni Estrella had a solid game in the cage with 10 saves including impressive stops on back-to-back sequences early in the first quarter.
"Those were gigantic saves by Sydni," Riley said. "She really got us pumped up early."
Jamie Neushul led all scorers with four goals and Hill scored three times. Goalie Chandler Vilander had two saves and drew praise from Parrish.
"I thought Chandler came up with some good saves and had some good release passes," he said.
Dos Pueblos advances to face Orange Coast League champion Laguna Beach in a semifinal round game Wednesday at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center in Irvine. The Chargers own 10-8 and 13-6 victories over the Breakers this year, the latter coming in the title game of the Irvine SoCal Tournament at the Woollett Center earlier this month.
Laguna knocked off Newport Harbor Friday, 7-3.
Edison concludes its season at 17-12.
"It's been a great ride," Riley said. "I was really pleased with our girls and what they accomplished. We lose Haley (Kunert) but everybody else is back next year. We had a great year and we're looking forward to what the future holds."