May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Foothill beats top-seeded Palos Verdes 10-9 in OT to advance to CIF Division 2 finals

Foothill players celebrate as the final seconds wind down Wednesday evening. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Foothill’s boys water polo team is back in the CIF Division 2 finals to go for its third straight crown.

The Knights defeated top seeded Palos Verdes 10-9 in overtime Wednesday night in the semifinals at the Woollett Aquatics Complex to advance into the finals Saturday against San Clemente.

Foothill defeated Mira Costa 6-4 last year for its second consecutive Division crown.

“It was a battle, I thought PV played really good, they played great defense,” said Foothill Coach Jim Brumm. “We were able to spread them out a little bit and and get some big goals. We definitely had a good second half. We probably needed to handle the end of the game situation a little better.”

Jackson Matos led the way for Foothill (22-8) with six goals, including the eventual game-winner with 1:23 left in the second, three-minute overtime. The victory avenged Foothill’s 8-7 loss to Palos Verdes on Oct. 10.

“We talked about someone needed to step up and he stepped up today,” Brumm said. “We have a lot of weapons and they did a good job of defending Jakob Tallman at two meters but I thought Jakob did a great job. He battled and played good defense and I think Whittaker Worland did a good job kind of leading us. He’s our senior leader and he’s really done a great job, especially in the playoffs.

“It was a great win. We had a sudden death game and an overtime game. We’re definitely excited to be in the final, that’s for sure. That’s our third in a row, I think.”

Foothill goalkeeper William Harrison also had an outstanding match with 13 saves.

Palos Verdes (21-10) held a 4-3 lead at halftime, but Foothill came out strong in the second half outscoring Palos Verdes 3-1 to take a 6-5 lead going into the final quarter.

Matos scored on a penalty shot and Noah Rowe scored a goal on a 6-on-5 to put the Knights ahead 8-5. But Palos Verdes countered with goals by Aidan Wattson, Henry Boyle and Max Chas to tie the match and send it into overtime. Chas’ goal came with 55 seconds remaining in regulation.

Matos had a goal in the first OT but Jake Leonard scored a goal for Palos Verdes early in the second overtime to tie it 9-9.

Then, Matos delivered the game-winning goal.

“I think we just came out harder than the previous time we played them and we had a lot of good stops on defense,” said Matos. “We got a late lead but we let them back in, but I think we did really well in overtime.

“I was just fired up for the game. I was ready to go out there and do something for the team, but I guess I did more than I expected. But I was happy with the way I played.”

Now the Knights will start preparing for San Clemente.

“It will be a great game,” Matos said. “We played them earlier. Unfortunately we lost to them (13-8 on Sept. 13) but I think we’re all ready to bring it to them on Saturday.”

San Clemente advanced to the finals with an 11-5 victory over Mira Costa in the other semifinal. Starting time for the finals will be announced Thursday.

RELATED: CIF schedule for Saturday’s finals announced

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;