May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Servite breaks it open in the second half and tops Segerstrom 16-12 in CIF Division 3 water polo semifinals

Servite’s Christian Martinez takes a shot during Wednesday’s semifinals. (Tim Burt photo)

Servite and Segerstrom were close at halftime in the semifinals of the CIF Division 3 boys water polo playoffs Wednesday afternoon.l

Servite led 8-6 at the break but the Friars took their play up another notch in the second half to defeat Segerstrom 16-12 and advance to the CIF finals for the first time since 2008.

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Servite (21-9) will face top seeded Los Osos, which beat Santa Barbara 8-5 Saturday at the Woollett Center. Starting times will be announced Thursday.

The Friars outscored Segerstrom (25-6) 5-2 in the third quarter to take control of the match.

Servite was led by Jack Dunbar with six goals.

“He had a really good game,” said Servite Coach Andy Coffman. “He facilitated well and created a lot of opportunities on the counter and I think his goalie made some nice passes. Those goals are the hard work of everyone. He just gets the stat for it in some ways, but he played great.”

Christian Martinez, Guiillermo Ocasio and Thomas Williams had three goals each for Servite.

Segerstrom was led by senior Jose Barajas, who scored nine goals and helped the Jaguars jump out to a 3-0 lead. Dominic Hernandez added two goals for the Jaguars.

After falling behind 9-6 in third quarter, Segerstrom countered with goals by Barajas and Daniel Covarrubias to cut the lead to one. But Servite was able to regain the momentum after that, ending Segerstrom’s hopes for a third CIF title.

“Their kid Jose Barajas was the guy we were trying to stop,” Coffman said. “There wasn’t really¬† a lot of adjustments, other than talking to the guys how to try and control him. I thought we did a better job of that in the second half. He still even got a couple goals off the perimeter in the second half. It was about stopping him.”

Segerstrom Coach Michael Varela said the match went about as he expected.

“I felt Jose did a great job of doing his job in the hole,” Varela said. “But once it started kind of falling down in our pockets, we were a little slow to find those pockets,” Varela said. “There were a couple team mistakes here and there, the team defensively we kind of found the zone we needed to a little too late in the game. I thought it was a lot closer than it nay have seemed but little things and details really matter.”

Varela was pleased with the Jaguars season.

“It was a great season, it’s only my second year with this team and seeing the growth of the program in one year (stands out),” he said. “We went out in the first round last year to Woodbridge and were 16-12, and this year we’re looking at 25-6. There is immense improvement, playing high caliber teams. We wanted to come out and show we could play ball and I think we did a good job of proving we can keep up and at least play the game that they play.”