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KYUSUNG GONG, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Orange Lutheran's Parker Killion, left, tries to block JSerra's Even Nassar from shooting during a Trinity League match at JSerra on Wednesday.

Orange Lutheran will ride surge into playoffs

STAFF WRITER

Orange Lutheran’s boys water polo team is peaking at the right time.

The wrinkle the Lancers unveiled Wednesday showed good timing, too.

Left-handed attacker Ash Molthen moved to center for the first time and scored the first three goals of the fourth period to help the Lancers clinch second place in the Trinity League with an 11-5 victory at JSerra.

Related: New Inside O.C. Water Polo Podcast

Hannes Daube had two goals and two assists, and goalie Jake Simmons made 10 saves as Orange Lutheran (18-8, 4-1) gave a strong follow-up to its triumph against fellow Division 1 contender Corona del Mar at the Memorial Cup on Saturday.

The victory Saturday helped move the Lancers to fifth in the Division 1 poll.

“Right now, I think we’re playing our best water polo,” said Molthen, a sophomore who finished with six goals.

“It’s really good that we’re playing like this, carrying it into the playoffs.”

Molthen moved to center to start the fourth period. The Lancers led, 6-2, entering the period and used three strikes from Molthen to extend the advantage to 9-2. Daube set up the final strike, faking a shot after a foul at 6 meters and passing to Molthen at center.

Orange Lutheran also excelled on the power play, finishing 3 for 4. Daube and Matt Kacura added four steals apiece for a defense that held JSerra scoreless for about 10 1/2 minutes during one stretch.

"I think we're going to be a dangerous team (in CIF)," said Orange Lutheran coach Steve Carrera, whose team doesn't feature a senior. "When we play complete, we're a really good team."

Lions senior Damjan Kertesz scored four goals, including one from midpool at the final buzzer. JSerra (22-6, 3-2) finished third and grabbed the league’s final automatic playoff berth. Goalie Michael La Chapelle made a few point-blank blocks and finished with seven saves.

In the Orange League:

Katella 11, Savanna 7: Anthony Marin scored six goals and Julio Sandino made 10 saves for the visiting Knights (12-5, 6-0), who earned their first league title since 2010.

In the Sunset League:

Los Alamitos 14, Marina 7: Peter DeSoto scored five goals and Adam Lott added four as the Griffins clinched the league’s third and final playoff berth. Huntington Beach claimed the outright title while Newport Harbor placed second.

In the Freeway League:

Troy and Sonora won their semifinal games to qualify for the playoffs and advance to Thursday's championship at Sonora at 6:30 p.m.

Sunny Hills and Fullerton will face off at 5:30 p.m. at Sonora for the third and final playoff berth.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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