First published in the Oct. 7 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
Polytechnic’s varsity boys’ water polo team (8-4 overall, 1-1 in league), behind solid performances of leading scorers Oscar Bortz and Theodore Rountree-Shtulman, defeated visiting La Salle, 19-8, on Sept. 29.
Terrific first and second quarters saw the Panthers cruise to a comfortable 13-0 lead. Poly’s Rountree-Shtulman and Peter Ryan each scored twice in the first period, while teammate Roy Otamura added two goals in the second. John Marion-Sims also had three saves in the first quarter.
“We really, really have struggled starting off strong in most of our games. We recognize that if we start playing defense the way we did in the first quarter of this game in every game, we don’t have to put as much work in in the back half,” said Sean Grab, Poly’s head coach.
The Panthers stole the ball from the Lancers on several occasions, as Poly’s Ryan, Patrick Seo and Nathan Tu each recorded three steals.
En route to Poly’s first Prep League victory, Bortz recorded a team-high four goals and Rountree-Shtulman added three. Teammates Ryan, David Lara, Otamura and Jesse Benitez also tallied two goals each.
Marion-Sims, Benitez and Ryan each had two assists, while Bortz, Rountree-Shtulman, Maaso Ortega, Kekoa Pastron and Seo each added one.
The Lancers’ snapped the shutout bid in the third quarter with 6:27 to play, as La Salle’s David Berg found the back of the net.
A penalty shot from La Salle’s Sam Zhang and consecutive scores by Isaac Culver trimmed Poly’s lead, 13-4.
“Even though we’re losing 13-0, they’re still ready to go in. Even though the scoreboard isn’t in our favor, our bench [players are] more than ready to get in and adjust the score anyway they can,” said Ian Castillo, La Salle’s head coach and aquatics director.
The Lancers tried to add a goal with 45 seconds to play, but a fantastic save by Poly goalie August Tonthat kept the score 16-4 at the end of the third. Tonthat, who replaced Marion-Sims in the second half, recorded a team-leading five saves.
In the final quarter, Poly’s Bortz and Marion-Sims added two and one goals, respectively, while La Salle’s Andrew Barrera and Culver each scored twice. The Lancers never quit, as their last two goals came in the final 35 seconds of play.
Despite the loss, the Lancers outscored Poly 8-6 in the second half.
Culver earned a team-high four goals for La Salle (2-9 overall, 0-2 in league, and Barrera recorded two while Sam Zhang and Berg added one each. Lancers goalie Ryan Rivard recorded a game-high eight saves.