Channel League collision goes to Chargers

It’s still early, but Dos Pueblos’ boys water polo team is the last undefeated team in the Channel League after Thursday’s come-from-behind 5-3 victory in the Chargers’ pool.

Dos Pueblos didn’t lead until 3:17 left in the final quarter, escaping with a pivotal victory against the higher-ranked Dons. DP was able to rise above a defensive battle and score four times in the fourth quarter after managing only two scores in the previous three quarters combined.

“I think honestly, I hate to say it, I think we got lucky,” said Chargers head coach Chris Parrish, who told his team before the game that if they lost the game by eight goals it wouldn’t be a bad result.

Santa Barbara's Preston Schlagel can't get this shot past Chargers goalie Philip Bates.

Grant Schroeder’s first goal of the game drew Dos Pueblos even at 2-2 near the start of the final period. Then, with 3:17 on the clock, Blake Parrish gave the Chargers their first lead on a sneaky lob shot from just about straight out.

“Getting the lead was pretty much the turning point in the game,” said Dos Pueblos goalie Philip Bates.

The Dons drew a penalty shot on the next possession but Bates stopped his second 5-meter of the afternoon. Both attempts came from Santa Barbara’s Alec Linz, who is Club teammates with Bates.

“I love the kid. Alec is one of my teammates. I know how he shoots,” Bates said following his eight-save performance.

Santa Barbara’s Tyler Heffernan equalized at 3-3 soon after, but Dos Pueblos closed out the match with two goals in the final 62 seconds.

“I’ve never had a team – as good as the players have been at DP – play defense like they played defense today,” Parrish said. “They just forced bad shots. Philip played great in the cage. They got a hand on everything. Nothing came easy for Santa Barbara and that’s the hallmark of a good defense.”

Santa Barbara's Alec Linz looks for an angle to pass around Dos Pueblos defender Blake Parrish.

Dons head coach Mark Walsh might agree the Chargers got lucky, but he wouldn’t say it.

“I thought there was a real critical moment (in the 4th quarter),” Walsh said. “I thought we had a pretty good steal. We doubled team the ball. The guy turned the ball into our defender. It looked like we had a clean steal and we had a breakaway on it, and they called an ordinary foul. It gave him a free shot and he scored it.

“I thought that was big.”

Not being able to convert on two penalty shots was also frustrating for the Dons.

“If we score both of those, then we’re up by one instead of having to scramble,” Walsh pointed out.

Santa Barbara’s 2-1 halftime lead came on the strength of two goals from Linz and Cristian Bridley. The Dons were seven seconds away from entering halftime with a shutout intact but Sjors Van Alphen was left open in front of the goal and put away DP’s first goal.

Connor McManigal assisted on all three Santa Barbara goals.

With the victory, Dos Pueblos remains undefeated in league play with a 3-0 record while the Dons fall to 2-1. Santa Barbara is 13-6 overall while Dos Pueblos is 7-9.

DOS PUEBLOS 5, SANTA BARBARA 3

SB 1 1 0 1 – 3

DP 0 1 0 4 – 5

SB Goals – Bridley, Linz, Heffernan. DP Goals – Van Alphen 2, Schroeder 2, Parrish 1.

SB Saves – McGee (11)

DP Saves – Bates (8)

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