After getting bad news, Chargers blow out Dons

Dos Pueblos came out fast and never let up in roaring past Santa Barbara 16-7 for its second straight Channel League boys water polo championship on Tuesday at the Elings Aquatic Center.

But the Chargers weren’t bursting with joy after sweeping their crosstown rivals in convincing fashion for the second time this season. Instead they were feeling bummed that one of their teammates couldn’t be in the pool with them Tuesday and won’t be in the water during the upcoming playoffs.

The fifth-ranked Chargers learned earlier in the day that senior Christian Terpening would need a second surgery to repair a ruptured ear drum he suffered in practice before the first meeting against Santa Barbara a few weeks ago.

Terpening and the team hoped after the first surgery that he would be cleared to play in the CIF Division 1 playoffs.

“Right now I think we’re going through kind of a rough spot,” DP coach Chris Parrish said about the team’s spirit after learning of Terpening’s status. “The whole team is pretty depressed. I’m really sorry that’s happening to him. The whole team and myself, especially, we’re hurting for him. We love the kid and we wish he could be out here playing. He would have helped the team on a championship run, but more than that it’s tough missing a top player and the kids’ best friend.”

Kevin Cappon is one of those best friends. He said he and Terpening have been playing water polo together for more than six years.

“We have a guy who obviously wants to play with us but he can’t. He can’t be in the water,” Cappon said. “He’d do anything. He’s one of our hardest workers; he gives a lot of inspiration for our team.”

Terpening’s injury has Cappon and his teammates fired up to go all the way.

“It’s time, it’s time to do it,” he said.

Chase Racich rises out of the water to fire a shot over Santa Barbara defender Connor McManigal.

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The Chargers (19-4, 5-0) wasted little time getting up on Santa Barbara. They scored two goals in the game’s first 60 seconds, forcing Dons’ coach Mark Walsh to call a time out.

Coming out of the timeout, Derek Shoemaker scored the first of his game-high five goals on a counterattack for a 3-0 lead.

Santa Barbara’s Enzo Wolfe converted on 6-on-5 situation to make it 3-1, but that would be as close as the Dons would get in the game.

Jared Rassler and Shoemaker scored back-to-back goals for a 5-1 DP lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Chargers relied a lot on their perimeter shooting in the game, and they made it look easy.

“We were trying to not let them beat us right in front of the goal,” Walsh said. “We were trying to keep them from scoring on one-and-nobody counters; we were trying to keep them from scoring from two meters. They scored a lot at two meters the last time, so the goal was to force them to take shots from distance. But for Derek Shoemaker and Kevin Cappon, eight meters for those guys is like two meters for my guys — it’s not that far for them.”

Parrish said his team took what Santa Barbara was giving it, which was a welcomed break after being involved in some physical battles over the weekend at the North-South Challenge in Stanford.

“We had a rough weekend, we’re not really in the habit of wrestling for six days in a row, so they tried to take a day off and sit on the perimeter and take shots, Parrish said. “Plus, we’ve been working on our outside shooting; I think the confidence of the team is pretty high right now. Sometimes we settle for outside shots, but today we took advantage of them.”

Shoemaker showed some finesse, too. Just before the shot clock buzzer went off, he lofted a delicate shot into the far corner of the goal for a 10-3 lead.

Cappon, meanwhile, display the power and explosiveness of a Kobe Bryant dunk when he got inside, and slammed the ball off the water and into the goal.

That put an exclamation mark on the victory.

Santa Barbara’s Connor McManigal played well in the second half and scored two goals to share high-scoring honors for the Dons (14-8, 4-2).

Chase Racich added three goals for DP.


  1. Way to go DP! Hope to see Christian back in the pool soon…

  2. really bummed christian wasnt able to get back in the pool…but watch out when he does!

  3. GO dons! dp will never be as good as SB… dp is having a good athletics year! GO DONS

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