Ferris puts in 10 for Mesa

COSTA MESA β€” Costa Mesa High senior Wyatt Ferris faced a bit of adversity at the start of Wednesday's Orange Coast League boys' water polo opener against cross-town rival Estancia.

Ferris picked up his second exclusion late in the first quarter. One more and he would foul out, so Ferris came out for the rest of the half.

"I wasn't too worried about it," Ferris said. "I knew that once I got back in, I was just going to go. I just wanted it."

Ferris showed everyone in attendance at Estancia High just how much the game meant to him. Despite the foul trouble, he put together perhaps the best game of his prep career.

He scored a career-high 10 goals, helping the Mustangs to an easy 17-3 victory over their rivals.

The 6-foot-4 Ferris easily outscored the Eagles by himself. He scored five of the last six goals for Mesa (6-2). On the other goal, he recorded the assist, making a precise pass to junior Tyler Connors that had Mesa Coach Justin Taylor applauding from the bench.

"We pretty much just played our offense," Ferris said. "[We wanted to] just take it to them, show them who runs Costa Mesa."

The Mustangs made that much clear after a bit of a slow start. They led just 6-2 at the half, after Estancia scored from the outside just before intermission.

Taylor argued that the goal shouldn't have counted, because the ball slipped out of the player's hand before he shot.

"It happens," Taylor said. "Look at the NFL right now. You're just going to have to deal with it. So I told them not to worry about the refs, control what you're capable of controlling."

The Mustangs did that in the second half, outscoring the Eagles, 11-1.

Senior Quinn Stone scored three goals, and Nick Lewis, Deighton Tachiki-Urias and Sagang Wee all scored single goals. Lewis and Quan Nguyen each had three steals for the Mustangs, who held Estancia to one for six on power-play opportunities.

Three of Estancia's six-on-five chances came in the first eight minutes, but the Eagles (2-4) were denied each time.

"We've been really aggressive defensively on six-on-five going after the shooters," Taylor said. "I think right now on the year, we're about 85% at stopping six-on-five. They're only scoring 15% of the time, and those are numbers [the Mustangs] should be proud of right now."

Costa Mesa goalie James Rydjeski made nine saves as part of the sterling defensive effort, and fellow sophomore Lewis guarded two meters for much of the match.

"We pride ourselves on our defense a lot," Ferris said. "We have very good defenders."

Jacob Sperling, Hayden Swift and Eli Sperling all scored for Estancia, and Eli Sperling led all players with four steals. Senior goalie Garrett Henschied also had eight saves for the Eagles, but he faced too many shots from in close for Coach John Carpenter's liking.

And Ferris was too good for Carpenter's liking, too.

"We're just a young team and we made a lot of mistakes," Carpenter said. "That's pretty much it, in a nutshell ... We had no answer [for Ferris]. We don't have the personnel to stop him. We were trying to 'slough' back on him, they just came too late."

The Mustangs now look ahead to another key league game Wednesday, when they play host to Saddleback. The Roadrunners finished second in league last year. The teams played a pair of one-goal games over the summer, both won by Saddleback, before Costa Mesa earned a 17-10 win last weekend at the Grafton Weiss Memorial Tournament. Ferris scored eight goals in that game.

"It's always nice to get a league victory," Taylor said. "Today, it's a good win, but we're already past it and looking toward next Wednesday. We're going to need to bring our 'A' game in order to compete with Saddleback ... it's going to be a tight game."


Twitter: @mjszabo

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