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KEVIN SULLIVAN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Laguna Beach goaltender Gordon Pike can't stop this game-winning shot by Capistrano Valley's Skyler Stanton in the CIF-SS Division 3 semifinals at Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine Wednesday.

Roundup: Late goal sends Capo Valley into Div. 3 final

STAFF WRITER

IRVINE – Capistrano Valley’s boys water polo team is back in the CIF-SS finals.

Skyler Stanton skipped in a shot from the top of the perimeter with four seconds left in the fourth period to help lift the Cougars past defending champion Laguna Beach, 9-8, in a thrilling Division 3 semifinal at the Woollett Aquatics Center on Wednesday night.

Stanton’s strike from about 10 meters into an upper corner sent Capistrano Valley (20-11) to the final for the first time since 1991. The Cougars lost that season in the Division 1 final to San Clemente, coached then by current Capistrano Valley coach Steve Yancey.

“Capo is back – back to Saturday, at least,” said Yancey, whose Cougars play top-seeded Murrieta Valley, a 13-9 winner against Montebello, in the final Saturday at Woollett.

“We’ve been fighting all along the way to get back to be recognized and respected.”

Stanton’s goal came after Capistrano Valley called timeout after a cross-cage lob shot by Laguna Beach’s Sebastian Jacobs tied the score, 8-8, with 23 seconds left.

Stanton said the Cougars were trying to get the ball to standout Austin Sechrest, but the Breakers double-teamed the high-scoring senior. Sechrest passed to Stanton after being fouled on the wing.

“We knew we could take them,” Stanton said of the Breakers (17-14), who beat the Cougars, 9-6, about two weeks ago. “We just had to work as a team.”

Capistrano Valley received a spark from goalie Aiden Sandhu, who made four of his 13 saves in the final period.

Jakob Colladay, the Breakers’ lone returning starter from last season, scored a game-high three goals, and Gordon Pike made 11 saves.

“I thought my boys battled,” Laguna Beach coach Ethan Damato said. "We had a really good season. Tonight was not real indictive of how we play. ... We definitely didn't execute the way we have. I thought we rushed (on offense) all game."

In Division 2:

Dana Hills 11, Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach 8: Bennett Williams scored three counterattacks in just more than two minutes in the fourth period to help the second-seeded Dolphins (25-6) net the final four goals and storm to their first final.

Mira Costa (22-7) took an 8-7 lead on a perimeter strike by Christian Thornton with 4:51 left in the fourth, but Williams tied the score, 8-8, on a counterattack with 3:50 remaining after a field block by Bryce Dunn.

Williams, a Stanford commit, was only warming up. After the Mustangs fired a shot off the post, he took a pass from Jack McLaughlin on a counterattack, split two defenders in front of the Mira Costa goal and scored the go-ahead goal with 2:06 left.

Williams added another counter off a save by goalie Riley Zachary and Dunn scored from the wing off an assist by McLaughlin to end the flurry.

“All season long, (Dana Hills coach Matt) Rosa has had us do all those swim sets,” Williams said. “It’s hard but it’s for that game right there, so that in the fourth quarter we can pull ahead.”

"The guys have worked super hard," Rosa said. "It's really fun to mke history."

Also in Division 2:

Foothill 12, Damien of La Verne 8: Defender Bobby Lee netted the first two goals on perimeter shots and Joseph Molina added a counterattack goal as the top-seeded and defending champion Knights (27-2) opened a 3-0 lead and sprinted into their third straight Division 2 final.

Lee finished with a team-high four goals.

In Division 6:

Segerstrom 15, Valencia 6: David Molina and freshman Jose Barajas each scored four goals at Mt. SAC as the top-seeded Jaguars (26-4) opened an 11-2 lead at halftime en route to their third consecutive section final. 

Segerstrom, last season’s Division 6 runner-up, will play Temescal Canyon, an 8-5 winner against Malibu, in the final Saturday at Woollett.

Garett Avila scored all six goals for the Tigers.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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