May 17, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Foothill’s boys water polo team is back in the CIF Division 2 finals after defeating CdM 12-10 in overtime

Foothill’s Adam Florman is guarded by Caden Strauss of Corona del Mar during Wednesday’s semifinal match at the Woollett Aquatics Complex (Tim Burt photo)

Foothill’s boys water polo team will get to defend its CIF Division 2 title.

The Knights defeated Corona del Mar 12-10 Wednesday night in overtime at the Woollett Aquatics Center to reach the finals on Saturday at 12:10 p.m. on the right course pool.

Foothill topped Corona del Mar in last year’s CIF Division 2 finals.

“Our kids just battled, they did a good job of being a little creative,” said Foothill Coach Jim Brumm. “In the second quarter, I thought CdM was kind of outplaying us but we were still ahead. In the first half I thought we were very opportunistic and our kids did a really nice job in that third quarter. We switched things up just a little bit and our kids started driving a little more and we had some good passing and protected the ball. And we were good on 6-on-5.

“We did a good job on our five-man D also.”

Wednesday’s match was another intense one with CdM rally from a four-goal deficit to tie the match and send it in overtime.

In the first overtime, Foothill’s Jakob Tallman scored the go-ahead goal to give the Knights a 10-9 lead. Goalkeeper Liam Harrison came up big blocking a penalty shot to preserve Foothill’s one goal lead. Harrison had 14 saves in the match.

“That was a huge save,” Brumm said. “He’s very, very good.”

In the second overtime, Jackson Matos scored for Foothill to make it 11-9. CdM (16-14) cut the lead to 11-10 on a goal by Caden Strauss with about 40 seconds remaining.

But Foothill’s Adam Florman countered with 12 seconds left to give Foothill a 12-10 lead and assure a trip to the finals Saturday.

Foothill (20-10) was the Crestview League champion and has continued its torrid play in the playoffs.

“It’s extremely exciting, I think it’s awesome for these kids to be in the finals,” Brumm said. “This is really, really young team and they have battled the whole season. We seemed to battle through. The kids never gave up and we had opportunities. They’re very good players.”

Tallman and Mattos scored three goals each but Brumm was also pleased with the play of Noah Rowe, who along with Florman had two goals each.

“The guy who I thought just played outstanding was Noah Rowe,” Brumm said. “He did a lot of things. He was doing a great job on the defensive end and he was very creative on our offensive end.”

CdM, which advanced to the playoffs as an at-large team after surviving the rugged Surf League, was led by Tanner Pulice and Shane Papa, who had three goals each. Matthew Ueberroth had two goals and goalie Harrison Smith had 11 saves.


-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;