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Mission Viejo continues surge in Sea View League
Mission Viejo's boys water polo team hasn't only resurfaced as a Sea View League contender. The Diablos also might be a playoff team to watch in Division 3.
Mission Viejo used a tight-pressing defense Tuesday to grab sole possession of first place in the Sea View with an 11-5 victory against visiting Tesoro, the sixth-ranked team in the division.
The Diablos (13-7, 4-0), ranked eighth in Division 3, won just six games in a drama-filled 2011, but they will enter the second half of league Thursday as the team to beat under first-year coach Jeff Rach.
"A lot of guys this year stepped up," said Mission Viejo senior Christian Macias, who had a match-high five goals and five steals. "This is our best season (in four years) ... (but) it's still not over."
Mission Viejo's 2011 campaign featured coaching instability but the Diablos looked solid in executing Rach's defensive-minded strategy against Tesoro (12-8, 3-1).
The Diablos' press applied just enough muscle and sound positioning to keep the Titans' offense mostly away from 2 meters. Other times, Mission Viejo successfully played help-side defense or collected a field block.
Tesoro finished with two natural goals, one of which came on a rebound.
And when the Titans unleashed a shot, first-year varsity goalie Raymond Rhew was tough, making 12 saves.
Tesoro's balanced lineup finished with a season-low goal total. Hunter Johnson led Tesoro with two goals.
"Between our defense and our goalie, they played lights out," Rach said. "Offense is easy. On offense, give the ball to somebody and hope you throw it at the cage and score. But defense wins ballgames."
Mission Viejo's offense was more dynamic than just throwing shots on the cage. Six Diablos players scored.
Macias, Zach Gleason and Tim Kim each scored goals from center for Mission Viejo.
Tesoro also was looking toward the second-half of league afterward but with a different tone.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Tesoro coach Mike Gibson said. “We’ll see how (our) guys rise to the challenge.”
In the South Coast League:
No. 7 Dana Hills 10, San Clemente 5: Brody Zachary made 19 saves and four players netted two goals apiece for the host Dolphins (13-5, 4-0).
No. 5 El Toro 9, Capistrano Valley 8: The host Chargers rallied from a two-goal deficit entering the fourth period to remain in second place. The Cougars had a goal disallowed in the fourth because an excluded player wasn't waved back into the pool, El Toro coach Brett McCleave said in a text message.
In the Century League:
Villa Park 11, Brea Olinda 5: Dylan Burns scored four goals and Sam Thompson made 14 saves as the visiting Spartans (9-11, 3-1) moved into a tie with the Wildcats (18-6, 3-1), who still must play first-place Foothill.
In the Pacific Coast League:
No. 4 Corona del Mar 20, University 10: Reid Chase scored seven goals to lead the visiting Sea Kings (14-4, 7-0).