Boys Water Polo: Higgenbotham’s 10 goals lead Cougars to 20-8 rout of Gilroy

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Gilroy's Joe Vanni looks for a pass during their game Tuesday against Christopher.

Christopher’s Matt Higgenbotham seemed to have the ball perpetually attached to his hand in Tuesday’s match at Gilroy.
The senior led the Cougars with 10 goals in their decisive 20-8 win over the Mustangs. Christopher coach Paul Wells credits Higgenbotham’s performance to his wealth of experience with the game.
“He’s got a knack for being where the shot is supposed to be,” Wells said. “He’s got the ability to move his body kind of like a water spray. He’s not deep in the water, he’s not heavy in the water; he’s light in the water. He’s very mobile, agile and very strong — that’s what you need.”
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Christopher (1-0) jumped out to 10-4 lead at the half even after both teams experienced several kickouts. Higgenbotham said his team knew how to get under the Mustangs’ skin to knock them off their game.
“I really just focused on staying physical,” Higgenbotham said. “We’ve had a rivalry with Gilroy since my freshman year. They get mad when we play physical, so in the second quarter everybody started hitting each other. It gets really easy to start playing technical and either counter them or play better then them and they’ll get mad.”
The Cougars were well protected in net by senior goalie Connor McConkie. He came up with 11 blocks in the game, helping hold Gilroy to a single digit score.
Gilroy (1-1) was led by junior Brendan Reimer, who scored five of the team’s eight goals — including the final one as the clock wound down.
“Brendan (Reimer) is a really strong player,” Mustangs co-coach Ed Malick said. “He’s a really good athlete all around. He’s good with the situation and he’s good at improvising — that’s why he scored so many goals. That’s a big part of water polo is knowing when to swim in and knowing when to take that shot. He’s a really good athlete so he knows what to do.”
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Malick also gave credit to sophomore and first year goalie Richie Bermea. He had three blocked shots for Gilroy in the game.
“This is our goalies first year and a goalie is a big part of it and our goalie is only going to get better so our team is only going to get better,” Malick said.
Moving forward, Malick said his Mustangs need to be able to better recognize their scoring opportunities. He hoped that was a lesson they took into their next game against York at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Christopher will be back in action at 4 p.m. Monday against Robert Louis Stevenson for its home opener.

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