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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Capistrano Valley's boys water polo team captured the Sea View League title with a 9-5 victory against visiting Aliso Niguel on Tuesday.

Capo Valley uses second-half surge to repeat as league champs

STAFF WRITER

Capistrano Valley’s boys water polo team solved another challenge Tuesday.

The host Cougars broke a tie by scoring four consecutive goals in the third period to clinch a second consecutive outright Sea View League title with a 9-5 victory against upstart Aliso Niguel.

Senior captain Austin Sechrest netted three of his match-high five goals in the second half to lead the Cougars (17-10, 8-0). The recent Harvard commit received plenty of support.

Related: Inside O.C Water Polo Podcast

Clayton Carroll sparked the third-period barrage by scoring off a drive 59 seconds into the third, snapping a 2-2 tie by converting a pass from Jake Good.

Skylar Stanton and Sechrest added goals in the next 3½ minutes before Carroll capped the surge with a counterattack goal with 2:05 left.

Capistrano Valley junior goalie Aiden Sandhu (11 saves) sealed the third period with a save at the buzzer. Good also led the defense by marking rising junior Nick Ure, who finished with one goal for the Wolverines (14-10, 5-2).

“We knew we had to pick it up in the third,” Sechrest said. “It was tough defense that put us over the top.”

Sechrest drew a penalty and converted the 5-meter shot 1½ minutes into the fourth to extend the Cougars’ lead to 7-2. He added the knockout blow by slamming in a redirect off a cross pass from Gabriel Robles for an 8-4 lead with 4:05 remaining.

When the game ended, the Cougars leaped into the pool to celebrate their title to chants of “USA! USA!”

“They found a way to pull away,” said Capistrano Valley coach Steve Yancey, who also guided the Cougars to Sea View League titles in 2010-11.

The Cougars have found success this season despite graduating 126-goal scorer Jacob Rendina (Santa Clara). They also used a players-only meeting after a 10-9 loss against Fountain Valley on Oct. 19 to get back on track.

“That was a big turning point,” said Sechrest, whose team plays host to Laguna Beach on Thursday in a Division 3 showdown.

In the South Coast League:

Dana Hills 14, San Clemente 9: Bennett Williams scored five goals as the visiting Dolphins (20-6, 7-0) led, 8-2, at halftime and clinched their fourth consecutive league title.

In the Crestview League:

Villa Park 14, Esperanza 2: Troy Furniss scored six goals to raise his county-leading total to 150 as the host Spartans (20-8, 2-1) clinched second place and qualified for the playoffs for the 41st consecutive season.

In the North Hills League:

Yorba Linda 16, El Dorado 10: Justin Dionne scored five goals and Jacob Walker added 14 saves as the host Mustangs (15-11, 3-0) captured their second consecutive North Hills crown and fourth straight league title overall.

In the Pacific Coast League:
Corona del Mar 23, Irvine 8: Centers Brendan Hack (seven) and Tamar Avital (four) combined for 11 goals as the Sea Kings clinched the league title.

In the Freeway League tournament:

Fullerton 9, Buena Park 7: Chris Frias scored three goals and Luke Dumlao added 14 saves to lead the host Indians into Wednesday's semifinals against Troy at Sonora at 6:30 p.m. In the other semifinal, Sonora plays Sunny Hills at 5:30 p.m.

Lightning delays: Games in the Garden Grove League and the Segerstrom semifinal at the Golden West League tournament were suspended due to lightning. The Garden Grove will play Thursday while Segerstrom plays Westminster on Wednesday.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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