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La Jolla High and Bishop’s boys water polo teams clear CIF quarterfinals and advance to semis

The La Jolla High School and Bishop’s School varsity boys water polo teams cleared the quarterfinals of the CIF playoffs this week and will proceed to the semifinals.

The Bishop’s Knights defeated Carlsbad 15-6 and the La Jolla Vikings defeated Grossmont 13-7. Both games were played Nov. 3 at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex on the La Jolla High campus.

La Jolla High

“We weren’t looking past Grossmont and who we might play after them,” said Vikings coach Tom Atwell. “We were focused on the task at hand, and the guys played well.”

During the match, the defense made the “big difference,” Atwell said, led by Kiefer Black and goalie Max LaGrange. LaGrange played 3½ quarters, then Kameron Warren took over.

Gavin Olson and Finn Bugelli scored five goals each for the Vikings, and Black, Lucas Turecek and Soren Martin scored one apiece.

With the quarterfinals behind them, the Vikings are now building up to their semifinal match against Cathedral Catholic at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, at the Coggan complex, 800 Nautilus St.

“If we execute the way I know we can, we can beat them,” Atwell said.

The Vikings split the season series with Cathedral this year. “We beat them by three in our pool and then lost to them by one in their pool,” Atwell said. “The boys are super fired up; they’re looking forward to playing them again.”

Bishop’s School

Going into the quarterfinals, the Knights had a mantra: “Be our best.”

Coach Doug Peabody said that meant “focusing on being as good as we can be, not worrying about what the other team might or might not do.”

It must have worked, because Bishop’s players missed only 12 shots the entire afternoon against Carlsbad and scored on their first four offensive possessions.

“We started hot … with goals right away,” Peabody said. Mark Stone and Max Stone (no relation) went seven for seven between them.

As for the semifinal match against Vista, the two teams squared off once before this season, “so we think we have an idea what we might do, and we’re game-planning the best we can,” Peabody said. “We’re expecting adjustments on their side and going to try and adjust and throw them off guard.”

Bishop’s beat Vista 14-6 in that earlier matchup, but the Panthers’ “great, storied program” is a “big concern,” Peabody said.

The semifinal game will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, at the Coggan complex.

Peabody said many of the athletes on the Knights’ varsity team are freshmen and that he’s “super excited” for them. “It’s a great experience for these guys. ... We’re excited for these kids to step up and do the most with their time in the pool.” ◆