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Aliso Niguel triumphs in tough battle with Beckman
Aliso Niguel’s boys water polo team has returned to the rugged South Coast League this fall.
The Wolverines showed Wednesday they will be formidable.
Defender Colin Knight scored three goals in the third period and utility Nick Ure netted the eventual winning strike with about three minutes left in the fourth period as the host Wolverines held off Beckman, 10-9, in a clash of two of the most improved programs in Orange County.
Aliso Niguel (3-0) took a 9-6 lead into the fourth but needed Ure’s extra-man goal with 2:54 left and a defensive stand in the final seconds to dispatch Beckman (0-1), a squad on the preseason CIF-SS Division 2 watch list.
“It was big,” said Aliso Niguel coach Jon Puffer, whose squad resides in Division 3. “Beckman really started cranking up the pressure in the second half.
“That fourth quarter was physical, but I was really proud of how our boys competed.”
The match also pitted Puffer against Beckman coach Sam Bailey, his teammate on UCLA’s 1999 NCAA championship team.
Beckman beat Aliso Niguel twice last season in two-goal decisions.
Ure gave Aliso Niguel a 10-8 lead on a power-play chance he earned by drawing a foul and exclusion outside 5 meters. But Beckman cut its deficit to 10-9 with 2:06 left on an extra-man goal by Ian Holder on a pass from Baylor Reynoso.
It was Beckman’s third power-play goal in as many chances in the fourth period and helped the Patriots finish 4 for 5 with the extra attacker. But Aliso Niguel’s defense and goalie Brandon Davis held and didn’t allow a shot on the Patriots’ final possession after their timeout with 10 seconds left.
Knight, slowed last season by a shoulder injury, showcased his re-discovered shooting form in the third period. The senior scored from 8 meters to snap a 4-4 tie and later struck on extra and from the perimeter.
Knight finished with four goals while Ure netted three. Skylar Lee added two goals while Trent Kalinak added one as the Wolverines showed improved depth. Evan Johnston, one of Aliso Niguel's emerging players, played goalie in the first half.
“We’re finally ready for (the South Coast),” Puffer said. “It isn’t just the Nick Ure show (anymore).”
Said Ure, "Our team has come a long way. ... We're all really amped for this year."
Reynoso, a junior, led Beckman with three goals while Matthew Tran added 10 saves and two steals.
“(Our) kids played with a lot of heart,” Bailey said. “Aliso is very well-coached and their kids definitely showed some grit.”
In other games:
Servite 11, Redondo 6: Deke Douty scored four goals to lead the visiting Friars (1-0).
Foothill 20, Capo Valley 4: J.T. Miller racked up four goals, two assists and three steals to lead the host Knights (2-0).
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