REV pushes top seed before falling in boys water polo semifinals
IRVINE — Playing in a new division with a team that included no senior starters and was ranked No. 5 at the end of the regular season, Redlands East Valley’s boys water polo team had no business getting to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 semifinals.
Wednesday at Woollett Aquatics Center, REV not only showed it belonged in the CIF-SS semifinals, but the Wildcats gave top-seeded Santa Ana Foothill a battle before falling 11-8.
Foothill will face No. 2 Corona del Mar in the finals Saturday.
“Our goal was to come in here and win,” REV coach Ryan Williams said. “Hopefully, this game gets Redlands some respect.”
REV never led in the game, but was within a goal late in the third quarter. Foothill (23-7) didn’t put the game away until Phillip Waldman’s goal with 2:12 to play gave the Knights a four-goal lead.
Junior Zach Arthur led REV with four goals, three of which game in the game’s first nine minutes.
“Zach’s stepped up for us in the playoffs,” Williams said.
But early exclusions took a toll on REV. Two of REV’s top defenders, Nick Flemington and Maverick McMurtry, each picked up two exclusions in the first quarter, putting them one exclusion away from missing the rest of the game.
“Our top defender (McMurtry), got two exclusions and I sat him for the next two quarters,” Williams said. “He only played about a quarter.”
McMurtry picked up his third exclusion with 4:21 left in the third quarter, missing the rest of the game. At the time REV trailed just 5-4.
“It was hard, because I had to play more defense and make sure (goalie) Harrison (Land) got the ball,” Arthur said.
Foothill’s shots rarely missed the mark, and Land’s 11 saves helped keep REV within striking distance.
“I knew they were going to be tough,” Land said. “We came in to […]