LA CRESCENTA — Exhaustion settled in quickly for the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy water polo team Thursday.
Playing its third Mission League match in as many days, Flintridge Sacred Heart coach Carlos Ponce noticed the Tologs weren’t sharp in a couple of facets of their game.
The Tologs had difficulty capitalizing on man-advantage opportunities and struggled with their passing in suffering an 11-5 league home loss against Alemany at Crescenta Valley High.
“It’s been tough playing so many matches in a short period of time and we’ve only had maybe six or seven practices since around Dec. 20,” Ponce said. “We were a little slow and we couldn’t get much on our passing and shots.
“We just seemed to be a step behind most of the game. We had five man-advantage opportunities and a five-meter shot that we weren’t able to take advantage of. When you don’t convert, it just makes things that much harder to figure out.”
Flintridge Sacred Heart (7-8, 2-4 in league) and Alemany (13-7, 3-3) came into Thursday’s match tied for fourth in league behind Harvard-Westlake, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Marlborough. The Tologs and Warriors will meet Tuesday in a league tournament match at Notre Dame with the winner clinching an automatic CIF Southern Section playoff berth. The top four teams from league qualify for the postseason.
“So, we know what we need to do to get better against Alemany,” said Ponce, who will look to guide Flintridge Sacred Heart to a second playoff appearance in the last three seasons. “We now have a couple of days to work on some things and basically regroup.”
Bree Layseca scored a pair of goals in the first quarter for the Tologs. Her second goal gave the Tologs a 2-1 lead with 2:38 remaining.
After Alemany tied it at 2 on a goal by Rachel Ahumada with 1:33 to go in the quarter, Flintridge Sacred Heart had a brief two-man advantage but couldn’t convert. Ahumada scored two goals in the final 44 seconds, including one at the buzzer to make it 4-2.
Ahumada finished with four of her match-high seven goals in the first quarter.
With Flintridge Sacred Heart trailing, 6-3, midway through the third quarter Layseca had a five-meter shot hit the crossbar.
“There was a little pressure there and it just got to my head,” said Layseca, who had two goals. “We know we have to be ready next week, when it counts.
“I think we now have a better idea on how to play against Alemany.”
The Warriors scored four goals in less than four minutes in the third quarter to build a 10-3 advantage.
Flintridge Sacred Heart’s lone man-advantage goal came with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter on a shot by Sara Khoury that wrapped up the scoring.
Khoury had two goals for the Tologs, who received 10 saves from goalkeeper Ellie Lund.
“I think we just came out a little tired,” Lund said. “We have to be a little bit more sharper with our passes and setting up shots.
“It will be good to have some time to go over different things.”
The Tologs received one goal from Amanda Ramirez.