Water polo tourney losses still provide some positives


The Sacred Heart Prep boys went just 2-2 and finished 11th. Menlo School went 1-3 and took 12th. Even the Sacred Heart Prep girls suffered a rare loss during water polo tournament action this past weekend. Nonetheless, some good things came out of some not-so-good results.

The SHP boys salvaged something positive out of the tough North-South Challenge, which brought together made of the top teams in the state -- one of which (Mater Dei) is regarded as the No. 1 squad in America.

The Gators (13-10) defeated Carlsbad on Friday, 8-4, and held off rival Menlo, 8-6, on Saturday. SHP, interestingly enough, scored eight goals in each of its matches.

"Beating Menlo was important to us," said SHP coach Brian Kreutzkamp, whose team finished 11th in the 16th team tournament by beating the Knights. "Our goal is to be one of the two two seeds in the (CCS) Division II playoffs and that should secure it for us."

Sacred Heart lost to Menlo in last year's CCS title match and is hoping for a rematch next month.

"In the positives' category, we proved we can play with the best teams in the state. We lost to Laguna Beach by one goal (9-8) and they got fifth in the tournament.

"In the negative category, we need to finish games. We are coming out strong, but not closing out. we got outscored, 3-1, in the fourth to Laguna Beach and we got outscored, 5-2, in the second half to Acalanes (another 9-8 loss). We will not make it very far in the WCAL and CCS playoffs if we cannot close out teams, especially in the fourth quarter."

One bright spot for the Gators was the goalie play of junior Will Runkel. He finished the four matches with 75 saves, including 18 against Menlo and 42 on the opening day.

Menlo (13-5) also had some ups and downs, beating only Soquel (17-8) while falling to CCS foes St. Francis (10-5) and SHP.

"I was pleased with how we played," said Menlo coach Jack Bowen, whose team lost to fifth-place finisher Loyola in the opening round. "Against St. Francis, we were without two starters (one at an ACT test and another sick) and to be 2-2 at half was great -- just couldn't keep that up without being at full strength.

"And we were much improved against SHP, being 6-6 with less than two minutes to play. The team's defense and counter was better than ever as was our front court. We just need to improve on our 6-on-5 and tweak a few other things. All in all, some great games."

The Sacred Heart Prep girls, who are working on a streak of four straight CCS Division II titles, went 1-1 in the Davis Fall Classic on Saturday -- beating Buchanan, 10-3, but falling to St. Francis (Sacramento), 4-3.

"They've got good team speed and, as a result, we struggled to generate counter-attack goals," SHP coach Jon Burke said of St. Francis, the top team from the Sacramento area and perhaps in Northern California. "They also did a nice job defending our centers. To only score seven combined goals over the course of 28 minutes is pretty rare. It was a real defensive battle for both teams.

"St. Francis (Sacramento) is a well-balanced team with a lot of experience. The game allowed us to identify some things we need to work on as we prepare for the postseason."



At Sacred Heart Prep

Game 1 -- Miramonte 10, Carlsbad 3

Game 3 -- Laguna Beach 9, Sacred Heart Prep 8

Game 5 -- El Toro 17, Davis 6

Game 7 -- Los Alamitos 12, Acalanes 5

Game 9 -- Sacred Heart Prep 8, Carlsbad 4

Game 11 -- Miramonte 12, Laguna Beach 9

Game 13 -- Acalanes 16, Davis 7

Game 15 -- El Toro 10, Los Alamitos 3

At Palo Alto High

Game 2 -- Mater Dei 19, Soquel 6

Game 4 -- Loyola (LA) 12, Menlo School 5

Game 6 -- Villa Park 15, St. Francis 13

Game 8 -- Agoura 12, Palo Alto 4

Game 10 -- Menlo School 17, Soquel 8

Game 12 -- Mater Dei 17, Loyola 4

Game 14 -- St. Francis 16, Palo Alto 9

Game 16 -- Agoura 12, Villa Park 10


At Sacred Heart Prep

Game 17 -- Laguna Beach 8, Los Alamitos 7

Game 19 -- Loyola 13, Villa Park 9

Game 21 -- El Toro 15, Miramonte 6 (semifinal)

Game 23 -- Mater Dei 18, Agoura 8 (semifinal)

Game 25 -- Los Alamitos 15, Villa Park 10 (7th place)

Game 27 -- Laguna Beach 12, Loyola 8 (5th place)

Game 29 -- Miramonte 10, Agoura 7 (3rd place)

Game 31 -- Mater Dei 12, El Toro 5 (championship)

At Palo Alto High

Game 18 -- Palo Alto 13, Soquel 6

Game 20 -- Carlsbad 15, Davis 6

Game 22 -- St. Francis 10, Menlo School 5

Game 24 -- Acalanes 9, Sacred Heart Prep 8

Game 26 -- Davis 20, Soquel 12 (15th place)

Game 28 -- Carlsbad 9, Palo Alto 4 (13th place)

Game 30 -- Sacred Heart Prep 8, Menlo School 6 (11th place)

Game 32 -- St. Francis 9, Acalanes 8 (9th place)

— Keith Peters

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