Acorns Water Polo Squad Impressive with OT Win in Semifinals
By Leann Shea
Morgan Hill Sports Editor
The Live Oak boys water polo team advanced into the Central Coast Section championship match against Bellarmine on Saturday with an exciting overtime victory over Serra 11-10 Wednesday at Independence High School.
Justin Short, the Tri County Athletic League’s MVP, scored six goals in the win for the Acorns including the game-winning goal in the fifth period. Teammate Kyle Fast, a first team all-league selection, finished with two goals for Live Oak.
Shea Coleman, the Acorns first team all-league goalie, made 12 saves in goal, securing Live Oak’s win late blocking a Serra shot with 11 seconds remaining in the sixth period.
“This match was pretty much everything I thought it would be,” said Acorns’ coach Mack Haines. “It was two very different teams battling it out.”
Live Oak likes to use their speed and keep the game pace quick. Serra, on the other hand, has a few big, strong, powerful players and use a methodical, slow game pace to their advantage.
The Acorns and the Padres exchanged goals in the opening period as the teams felt each other out and settled into a rhythm. “Once players settled in it was a fun match to watch,” said Haines.
With the scored tied at 1-1, Serra had an offensive burst in the second period, scoring twice in less than two minutes to take the lead 3-1.
Short answered for Live Oak with a goal from two meters out and then stole a Serra pass, passing it in to Sam Cretcher who scored to tie it up at 3-all.
The Acorns’ offense went on a run to end the second period and found themselves up 7-4 on goals by Fast, Cameron Peachy and Bryson Bailey, each selected to the all-league team. Short continued Live Oak’s momentum, opening up the third period with a goal just over the head of Serra’s goalkeeper, extending the lead, 8-4.
Then Serra made a run of its own, stealing passes and disrupting the Acorns’ offense to pull within in two by the end of the third period, 9-7.
At the break before the fourth period, Haines implored his players to protect the ball.
Both teams picked up the pace through the fourth quarter, with defenses pressing. With just over one minute remaining in the period Fast scored on a wide open Serra goal to give the Acorns a 10-8 lead.
Serra answered on their next possession and then tied the score at 10-10 with six seconds left off an intercepted Acorn pass.
“We were down, we got up and then there were a few controverisal call,” said Haines. “They tied it up in the final seconds and usually that momentum shift is so great, it stays with that team. Fortunately we were able to stay focused and keep up our enthusiam.”
In the fifth period, the first of two three minute overtime periods, Short found the Serra goal wide open and tossed it in for what turned out to be the game-winning goal with 1:19 remaining.
The Acorns’ defense was able to hold off the Serra offense through the sixth and final period with Coleman coming up with a huge save in the final seconds for the win.
“Everybody contributed in the effort,” said Haines. “Shea had some key, brilliant saves. I’m very happy we get a chance to play Bellarmine in the final. As far as I’m concerned we’ve acheived our goals this season.”
Live Oak faces off against a tough Bellarmine team on Saturday at 1:30pm at Independence High School for the CCS title.