Grossmont, Steele Canyon win CIF water polo titles

0
147
WEBwaterpolo.jpg

Grossmont head coach Clint McLaughlin may have entered La Jolla High School’s Coggan Pool dry on Saturday night, Nov. 11, but he left it soaking wet from head to toe. 

Following a nail-biter game, won in the final seconds of the last quarter to clinch the Division CIF Championship title, McLaughlin joined his boys in the pool for a ‘victory lap.’ 

Grossmont head coach Clint McLaughlin may have entered La Jolla High School’s Coggan Pool dry on Saturday night, Nov. 11, but he left it soaking wet from head to toe. 

Following a nail-biter game, won in the final seconds of the last quarter to clinch the Division CIF Championship title, McLaughlin joined his boys in the pool for a ‘victory lap.’ 

“It’s a little bit of a tradition,” said McLaughlin. “The boys were excited to get in and all celebrate together.”

It was a battle for No. 2 Grossmont (22-11), as Canyon Crest Academy (14-8) maintained a lead for the first three quarters. By the second half, the game was 5-4 in favor of the Ravens, whose fans could be heard from the street outside, stomping and chanting.

The Foothillers attempted a comeback in the third quarter, scoring three points to the Raven’s two, tying the game at 7-7 for the start of the fourth quarter. 

And then it was a shrill volley of blocks and missed attempts, keeping both teams swimming at an exhausting pace. 

A penalty call sealed the deal for Grossmont, who cleared the shot in the final nine seconds of the game to bring home an 8-7 Foothiller victory. 

It was a real story of agony and elation, said McLaughlin.

“We didn’t get our first lead till about nine seconds left,” he said. “So it was a little stressful and then pretty exciting there at the end — it was a good nine seconds.”

Junior Foothiller goalie Parker George said the win had him on cloud nine.

“It’s the greatest feeling on the planet right now,” he said. 

Despite the intensity of the game, George said the goal box was not the pressure-cooker it might have seemed like from the outside. 

“I just always calm myself down when a goal went in,” said George. “Coach is always telling me to smile, get up and get the next one, always get up and support the team. As long as I stay positive, the team will stay positive.”

McLaughlin said the team is competitive, a factor that may have helped them hang on during the final quarter. 

“I really love that these guys are willing to fight,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re down by ten or up by ten, they’re always pushing each other. It helps with the depth of the whole program because everyone’s trying to get better.”

Earlier in the day, Steele Canyon brought home the Division III title in a 14-7 win over Santa Fe Christian. McLaughlin said East County is certainly a competitive place to play water polo. 

“I think East County does have some very good programs from all over, top to bottom, so it’s an honor to be here,” he said. “All these teams that are playing CIF are really good. I think anyone had a chance to win.”

George said it was everybody’s win, one the Foothillers are grateful for.

“It was definitely a great triumph,” he said. “I’m proud of the coaches, proud of the boys, proud of the team, proud of everybody.”