Bishop’s comes up short in CIF water polo final

By Rick LeBeau

The Bishop’s School, seeded No. 2 in the Division III playoffs, took on top seed Coronado in the CIF Finals Saturday night at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex on campus at La Jolla High.

Both teams were coming off 13-12 wins in the semifinals two nights ear- lier — Coronado topped La Jolla High while the Bishop’s beat Cathedral Catholic.

Following their sudden-death overtime victory against the Dons on Thursday night, coach Jim Fales’ Knights were primed for another hard-fought match against the rival Islanders. They didn’t disappoint the throngs of fans, as they gave the as- sembled partisans another nail-biter, losing in sudden death, 9-8.

From the outset, both teams pressed hard on defense, with the goalie play being vital to Bishop’s success. Caleb Schultz made two outstanding saves in the first minute, then another on a subsequent Coronado possession, as he continually came up big, as the Islanders peppered the goal with blistering shot attempts. Halfway through the opening period, Tommy Higgin- son finally broke the ice for the Knights with a shot from the perime- ter. Next time down the pool, the Knights got a goal from Stephen

Tifft out of 2-meters, and Richard Daly scored with 12 seconds left in the quarter to put Bishop’s up 3-0.

The Knights suffocating defense, combined with Schultz stellar play in goal, kept Coronado off the score- board until almost the final minute of the half. Tommy Grall finally scored first for the Islanders with 1:11 to go in the second quarter, then got another with 36 seconds remaining. Just as the buzzer was sounding, Coronado’s Gar- rett Eyer poured in the third goal in 71 seconds, tying the game at the half.

Richard Daly got the Knights the lead again 90 seconds into the third quarter, but the Islanders answered with an Eitan Peled goal, coming off of a foul outside 5 meters. Viktor Wrobel once again gave the Knights the lead with a minute to go in the quarter. Two minutes into the fourth quarter, Sean Barlow put Bishop’s up by two goals at 6-4. Peled then scored twice for Coronado to knot the game again with just under 3 minutes to play in regulation. The pace was fast and furious after that, but neither team was able to get the winner before the buzzer sounded.

After two overtime periods, the score was deadlocked at 8-8. For the second time in two games, the Knights went to sudden-death overtime to decide the contest.

It was Grall who again came up big for the Islanders, hitting the key shot in sudden death from the perimeter that just beat Schultz to the upper corner for the game-winner.

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