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Cold start hurts Mesa

Boys' Water Polo

The Mustangs' season ends with a 20-7 record after losing wild-card game at Tesoro.

November 08, 2011|By Matt Szabo

LAS FLORES — The temperature dropped steeply as the sun went down Tuesday evening at Tesoro High.

Costa Mesa High boys' water polo coach Justin Taylor tried to keep warm on the pool deck.

Taylor is getting married in less than two weeks. He joked that the cold temperatures were giving him second thoughts about having his wedding at an outdoor venue.

His Mustangs took a bit too long to heat up, too. Their season is over after they lost to host Tesoro, 19-11, in a CIF Southern Section Division III wild-card match.

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Mesa battled for much of the game but could not come all the way back after falling behind, 7-1, after the first quarter.

"The first quarter aside, we hung right with them," Taylor said. "That's one of the things about these kids — they have a lot of heart and they have a lot of pride. The first quarter, I think we were a little shellshocked. They came out and hit us hard and fast. At that point, teams have a habit of rolling over, but that's not our kids."

Nobody on Costa Mesa (20-7) had played in a CIF game before. The Mustangs got a bit unlucky in the early going.

Wyatt Ferris' hard shot from the outside on their first possession clanged off the crossbar. On their second possession, the Mustangs got a six-on-five opportunity, but Tesoro sophomore goalie Roger Lorge slid over for a nice save on Quinn Stone's quick shot at two meters.

Tesoro (19-9), the third-place team from the Sea View League, built up its lead behind Dylan Chavez. The junior scored four goals in the first quarter and led all scorers with six for the game.

"It was the first time we'd all played in a CIF game," said Mesa senior James Lewis, who had three goals. "I'd say we were intimidated to come out and play, knowing they were a good team. Once we realized we could actually play with them, we came out and [did better]."

Down, 11-2, at halftime, the Mustangs kept fighting. They pulled within six goals on Nick Lewis' power-play strike early in the fourth quarter, but could not get closer.

Jack Proctor added four goals for Tesoro.

"[Tesoro] countered well," Taylor said. "But their outside shooting was what hurt us the most today."

Senior goalie Mitchell Grandia had eight saves for the Mustangs. That gave him 309 for the season, which is fourth in Mesa single-season history behind Scott Neslage (313), Justin Taylor (311) and Scott Taylor (no relation to Justin – 310).

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