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Wojciechowski gives Oilers OT victory
Huntington Beach’s boys water polo team made the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals last season for the first time since 1958. On Saturday, the Oilers showed no interest in giving up their spot in the semifinals showcase under the lights in Irvine.
Utility Ethan Wojciechowski scored from center 45 seconds into the second three-minute overtime and Curtis Jarvis made a steal at 2 meters with about 15 seconds left as third-seeded Huntington Beach defeated sixth-seed Orange Lutheran, 10-9, in an intense quarterfinal at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
“We thought we deserved to win and we took it,” said Wojciechowski, a rising junior and star sprinter in swimming. “We didn’t want a close game like that but it gets us prepared, gets us ready for when this moment comes. … We had self-confidence.”
Wojciechowski also netted the tying goal in the first three-minute overtime, scoring on another post-up at 2 meters as the Oilers (23-6) paired him with center Quinten Osborne (four exclusions, one penalty drawn). Wojciechowski and Jacob Cavano each finished with three goals while James Vlachonassios added two.
The Oilers advanced to Wednesday night’s semifinal against two-time defending champion Harvard-Westlake of Studio City by erasing a 5-2 deficit late in the first half and Orange Lutheran’s 9-8 lead early in the first three-minute overtime after a skip-shot by Hannes Daube.
Huntington Beach also overcame the game exclusion of Vlachonassios with 5:28 left in the fourth for excessive celebration after his goal. Both teams had been warned earlier in the game. Another blow for the Oilers arrived about a minute later when Cavano fouled out and Orange Lutheran forced overtime on Matt Kacura’s extra-man strike that tied the score, 8-8.
“The difference was that my boys were warriors and when it came time to put the game away, they stepped up,” said Huntington Beach coach Sasa Branisavljevic, whose team beat the Lancers (20-9) three times.
Orange Lutheran goalie Jake Simmons made a save at the end of regulation to force overtime and also tipped out a penalty shot by Wojciechowski. Huntington Beach’s Patrick Saunders made 12 saves.
Huntington Beach went 1 for 7 on the power-play; Orange Lutheran 4 for 8.
"We had our chances at the end," Orange Lutheran coach Steve Carrera said.
Also in Division 1:
Mater Dei 21, Long Beach Wilson 7: The top-seeded Monarchs opened an 8-1 lead after the first period at Belmont Plaza’s outdoor pool and advanced to the semifinal against Loyola of Los Angeles, an 11-9 winner against Corona del Mar at USC.
In Division 2:
Dana Hills 10, Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga 9: Bennett Williams scored the winning goal on the power-play with 2:07 left to lift the second-seeded and visiting Dolphins (24-6) into the semifinals against Mira Costa.
Foothill 12, El Toro 8: Bobby Lee scored five goals and Chas Hornecker netted four as the visiting top-seeded Knights (26-2) reached the semifinals against Damien of La Verne. The Knights scored 12 even-strength goals.
In Division 3:
Capistrano Valley 8, Vista Murrieta 5: Austin Sechrest scored six goals to lead the visiting Cougars (19-11) into the semifinals against Laguna Beach.
Laguna Beach 20, Yorba Linda 8: Sebastian Jacobs scored six goals to lead the host and defending champion Breakers (17-13).
In Division 6:
Segerstrom 17, Hemet 6: Nick Navarro scored four of his five goals in the first as the host Jaguars (25-4) reached the semifinals against Valencia.
Valencia 10, Lakeside of Elsinore 9: Garett Avila scored the winning goal on the power-play with 49 seconds left in the fourth to lift the visiting Tigers (13-17).
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