Capistrano Valley's Aiden Sanghu reaches to make a save during a CIF-SS Division 3 Championship game against Murrieta Valley at Woollett Aquatics Center on Saturday.

Capo Valley runs into unstoppable force in final


IRVINE - Capistrano Valley knew it had to shut down Ian Fleenor in order to upset Murrieta Valley on Saturday night.

Knowing it was one thing. Being able to do it was another matter.

Fleenor had five goals, three assists, three steals and three ejections drawn in a transcendent effort, and the top-seeded Nighthawks beat the Cougars, 12-8, in the CIF-SS Division 3 boys water polo championship game.

“We tried to rotate over to where Ian was and he just played a great game,” Capistrano Valley senior attacker Austin Sechrest said. “He made some nice shots. Sometimes there's just nothing you can do.”

Sechrest scored four goals, giving him 425 in his career, and Trevor Adams scored three. Still, the Cougars (20-12) trailed at the end of each quarter and never got within two goals in the second half.

“Maybe the game was bigger than us, I don't know,” Capistrano Valley coach Steve Yancey said. “Wednesday (in the semifinals) we played great. We were a shadow of that tonight. It was unfortunate.”

Freshman goalkeeper Collin Winters made 11 saves for Murrieta Valley (22-6) and Hudson Rawlings scored three goals.

Fleenor put on a one-man show in the first half to get the Nighthawks out to a 6-3 halftime lead. He had four goals, two steals, two blocks and a drawn ejection in the half and, for good measure, won the sprint to start the first two quarters.

“I just came out with the mindset of we needed to bring it to them,” said Fleenor, a senior attacker. “It was just strive to be the best.”

Murrieta Valley pulled away in the second half, extending its lead to 10-5 midway through the fourth quarter. Naturally, Fleenor was the one to seal it with a goal and an assist on consecutive possessions just inside the three minute mark to halt a Cougars rally.

“We didn't want to foul him, we just wanted to press him,” Yancey said. “We just didn't follow our game plan.”

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