June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Crean Lutheran boys water polo team captures two key non-league victories

Crean Lutheran Coach Ed Carrera talks to his players during a timeout. (Photo courtesy Crean Lutheran Athletics).

Crean Lutheran High School’s boys water polo team, coached by Ed Carrera and assistant coaches Ryan Tunstall and Robert Amakasu,┬ánotched two big non-league victories last week and has moved into a tie for ninth with Buena in the CIF Division 2 poll.

“Our team has made some excellent strides this year,” Tunstall said. “We started off the season with a really tough schedule and are currently 9-7 on the season after playing a lot of Division 1 and 2 schools. We have the S&R Tournament this weekend. Our first game will be against Foothill so it will be an exciting tournament.”

The Saints opened with a 13-12 overtime win over San Juan Hills. 

Crean Lutheran trailed 11-7 with 2:53 left before rallying with a goal with five seconds remaining to force overtime.

“San Juan Hills scored and then we score with 13 seconds left to force sudden death overtime,” Tunstall said. “We run a play right off the sprint and earn a penalty shot which we score.”

Sophomore Julian Amakasu led the Saints with six goals, four in the fourth period and the game-winning penalty shot in golden goal of overtime. He had three assists, four steals and six earned exclusions.

Freshman Connor McTaggart had three goals, one assist and one steal; sophomore Dillon Chanove had two goals, one assist, four steals and four earned exclusions; junior Mark DiPinto had the overtime goal to tie it with 13 seconds left to force the golden goal session; senior and captain Jonathan DiPinto had one assist and four steals including several in final seconds of the fourth quarter to help tie the game and junior goalie Caden Spaeth had five saves, including a big stop in overtime.

“One of the best comebacks I have ever seen,” Tunstall said. “I was extremely impressed with how we played and the team played for each other as we fought our way back.” 

Crean Lutheran also defeated Irvine 10-9.

Amakasu had 4 goals, four assists, two steals, one blocked shot and three earned exclusions; McTaggart three goals, one steal and one earned exclusion; DiPinto one goal, one assist, seven steals and one earned exclusion; freshman Everett Chen had one goal, three assists, one steal and one earned exclusion; DiPinto one goal, one assist, three steals and one earned exclusion and Spaeth had six saves.

“Great win over Irvine,” Tunstall said. “We had some players step up and provide us with solid minutes that kept us in the game.”