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Div. 2 rumblings: Santa Margarita upsets Harvard, Laguna Beach holds off PV
Water polo fans heard Division 2 roar on Tuesday.
Santa Margarita’s boys accomplished what their Trinity League rivals and Southern California peers have been unable to do this fall.
The Division 2 Eagles beat Division 1 juggernaut Harvard-Westlake of Studio City.
AJ Rossman scored five goals, including the winner with about two minutes left, and Noah Hodge made 12 saves to help Santa Margarita rally to upset top-ranked and previously undefeated Harvard-Westlake of Studio City, 10-9, in a nonleague match at Harvard-Westlake.
Harvard-Westlake (21-1) entered the match undefeated, ranked No. 1 in CIF Division 1 and champions of Elite 8, South Coast and S & R Sport tournaments. The squad has played in three straight Division 1 finals (champions in 2013-14).
The Wolverines have been impressively winning despite mostly playing without star center, Felix Brozyna-Vilim (knee), who again missed Tuesday. They also were without sharp-shooting attacker Luke Henriksson, who was sick.
But Harvard-Westlake’s roster is still loaded with talent, big-game experience and finishing power. But the Eagles posted arguably the biggest upset of the season by rallying from an 8-6 deficit going into the fourth period against a team that pulled out recent, fourth-period victories against Orange Lutheran (7-6) and Mater Dei (10-9) in the same pool.
The Wolverines also feature one of the top goalies in the Southern Section: Sam Krutunog.
But the Eagles -- seeking to build a CIF legacy -- brought plenty to the matchup.
“Noah played a huge game,” said first-year Santa Margarita coach Jeremy Laster, whose squad is ranked third in Division 2 and eighth in O.C. “AJ Rossman led our counter later in the game.”
Brock Petersen and Jack Baumgardner also added two goals apiece for Santa Margarita while Chase Petersen had four steals and two assists. Brock Petersen racked up four assists.
Impressively, Baumgardner is the lone senior on the Eagles' roster. The Petersens, Hodge and Rossman - who scored a season-high five goals -- are all juniors.
The power-play stats were similar for some of Harvard-Westlake previous big matches this season. Santa Margarita went 1 for 4 on the extra attacker while Harvard-Westlake finished 5 for 8.
But the result and Santa Margarita’s finishing kick were certainly different Tuesday, sending shock waves to Palos Verdes and beyond.
"Oh, really," Laguna Beach coach Trevor Lyle said when told of the score. "That's still a very big win (despite the injuries). ... That surprises me, too."
The Eagles, who captured the Villa Park Classic, play host to O.C. No. 1 Orange Lutheran on Thursday night at 5 in a suddenly more intriguing match.
In a nonleague game:
Laguna Beach 15, Palos Verdes 12 (OT): The adventurous afternoon offered one more challenging twit for the Breakers but they found their way to another Division 2 victory.
After waiting nearly 1 1/2 hours for their late-arriving bus to arrive, the Breakers built a commanding first-half advantage only to need overtime to hold off the Sea Kings.
Sophomore Colton Gregory scored the first two goals of overtime en route to a season-high nine goals and Gordon Pike made 15 saves as the Breakers, ranked No. 1 in Division 2, stay undefeated against divisional opponents.
Palos Verdes’ Griffin Mactavish scored a power-play goal with 1:02 left in fourth period to tie the score, 11-11, and force the Breakers to work overtime in a game they controlled in the first half.
Laguna Beach led, 8-1, with under three minutes left in the second period, highlighted by a 5-meter penalty shot block by Pike. The Breakers also led, 11-8, after Gregory’s penalty shot conversion with 53 seconds left in the third.
"We had a pretty good start," Laguna Beach coach Trevor Lyle said. "We definitely lost a lot of our energy and ran out of gas in the second half. I didn't see it again until overtime."
Palos Verdes – ranked eighth in Division 2 – almost matched Santa Margarita's feat of upsetting a top-ranked team in the section.
"I wish we could have handled out part of that," Palos Verdes coach Patrick O'Brien said. "It's going to be a fun playoffs."
Senior Quinnn Stoneman had five goals and five steals for Palos Verdes, which went 4 for 7 on the power-play. Laguna Beach went 1 for 7.
The Breakers played without among others Sebastian Jacobs (personal reasons).