Boys water polo trounces Garden Grove 18-5

Utility+player+sophomore+Dylan+Loh+%28right%29+looks+to+pass+the+ball+to+a+teammate+while+fighting+off+a+Garden+Grove+High+School+defender+during+a+Tuesday%2C+Sept.+14%2C+home+game.

Kristima Aryal

Utility player sophomore Dylan Loh (right) looks to pass the ball to a teammate while fighting off a Garden Grove High School defender during a Tuesday, Sept. 14, home game.

Esther Oh

The Lancers broke their preseason four-game losing streak Tuesday, Sept. 14, after defeating Garden Grove 18-5 in a home water polo game.

“We had a tough weekend. … so I think we were a very hungry team for a win,” boys water polo head coach Keith Nighswonger said after his players sealed the victory.

The Lancers established themselves early in the game as utility player senior Andrew Lee won the starting sprint. Though they missed their first shot attempt of the game, they ended their second possession with a shot coming from utility player sophomore Brandon Koh with 5:54 left in the first quarter.

“The first quarter was very fast-paced, and they had a hard time matching that, which is why [Garden Grove] fell apart,” utility player senior Nathan Kim said.

The Argonauts added two points to the scoreboard during the last two minutes of the first quarter with back-to-back goals from utility players juniors Andrew Ore and Patrick Sam, respectively. But the Lancers were quick on defense, pushing back the Garden Grove offense and forcing turnovers.

After ending the first quarter with a 6-2 lead, the team continued its tenacious spirit going into the second quarter as Kim drove himself into center goal, which led to a player exclusion penalty on Garden Grove’s utility player junior Joey Pham.

“As you look for chances to shoot the ball, it’s not only about you, so when I try to make a point, I look to see if there’s anybody else that I can give the opportunity to score,” Kim said.

The Lancer utility player then scored two of the four goals in the second quarter. Goalie senior Nick Barkero allowed only one more shot to enter the net, keeping the score 10-3 going into the third.

Utility player senior Elijah Vera scored a goal with 4:16 left on the clock; Kim quickly followed with another point, capping off the third quarter with a dominant 14-4 lead.

“During the play itself, I felt hyper-aware of my defenders closing in on me,” Vera said. “After I made the goal, all I could think about was how relieved I was that it worked out.”

As you look for chances to shoot the ball, it’s not only about you, so when I try to make a point, I look to see if there’s anybody else that I can give the opportunity to score”

— utility player senior Nathan Kim

Utility player sophomore Dylan Loh started the final fourth quarter off with a penalty shot that hit the right cross bar; he then shot the rebound in after it bounced back toward Loh. The first two of the four points in the quarter were scored by Loh, followed by points from Koh and junior Matthew Lucio, ending the game 18-5.

“As soon as I threw the ball, I knew I missed it, so I swam to the rebound as fast as I could to save it,” Loh said. “I took that opportunity to shoot and made it, which felt amazing.”

The Lancers will hope to build on the momentum when they play at the Western Boys Varsity Tournament at Savanna High School Friday, Sept. 17, at 4:40 p.m.

“[There was] a lot of good chemistry and good teamwork, and I think this is something we should be proud of as a team,” Kim said.