San Juan Hills' Eric Jones, right, tries to block the shot of Corona's Kyle Aguilar during Wednesday night's CIF-SS Division 5 boys water polo semifinal match at Santiago High School in Corona, CA Wednesday, November 16, 2016. (Photo by Mark Dustin for the Press Enterprise)

San Juan Hills stuns No. 1 seed to reach Div. 5 final


CORONA – The San Juan Hills boys water polo team added another highlight to its history-making season.

The visiting Stallions leaned on their stellar defense and fourth-quarter goals from Brent McClain and Cole Bursey to beat top-seeded Corona, 8-6, Wednesday in the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 5 playoffs.

San Juan Hills (18-11) moves on to face the Burroughs of Burbank in the final on Saturday at Woollett Aquatics Center in Irvine.

After going 0-8 last year in the Sea View League, the Stallions have piled up the achievements this season. They earned a share of the league title, plus reached the semifinals and finals for the first time.

“We wanted to play our best to see if we could play with the best,” said second-year San Juan Hills coach Ivan Buich. “Our kids wouldn’t let the other one fail.”

McClain, who came in with a team-high 108 goals, had five for the Stallions, who squeezed past Don Lugo, 13-12, in second round of the playoffs and Murrieta Mesa, 10-9, in quarterfinals.

San Juan Hills held a 5-2 lead after the first half.

Goalie Andrew Mansoor made nine stops. Corona (25-8) entered the contest averaging 15 goals per game in the playoffs.

“(San Juan Hills) is a physical team, and they came out hard and fast and we knew it,” Corona coach R.J. Hamblin said. “Our boys came back, they started fighting back and holding them on defense, but we just couldn’t get our offensive game going.”

Kevin Aguilar had three goals in the second half but it wasn’t enough for Corona, which had outscored opponents, 45-13, in the first three rounds of the playoffs. Christian Bowley added two goals in the third quarter.

- Dennis Pope contributed to this report

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