Wolfpack on track with dominant CIF performance
Claremont High School boys water polo wasted no time setting the pace Wednesday night during their first round CIF playoff game against visiting California High School. In fact, it took junior Bruno Snow a mere handful of seconds to score the Pack’s first goal and they never looked back.
With powerful and aggressive play from Snow, Johnathon Wong, Ian Waasdorp and Mat Turk, Claremont quickly took a 6-1 lead with four goals coming from Snow alone. For a while it seemed that Claremont could score at will while the frustrated Condors just watched.
On a breakaway Wong opted not to shoot but swam around the goalkeeper and simply deposited the ball in the net with an outstretched hand. Impressive as it was, the showmanship did draw some comments from the Condor fans.
Once the Wolfpack was ahead by six, Coach Kristin Rodriguez substituted in some of her younger players to give them a taste of CIF competition. California quickly took advantage of the personnel changes and made a bit of a run that brought them within four goals of Claremont at the end of the first quarter.
As play resumed in the second quarter the younger Claremont players shook off the jitters and outscored California 5-2, exiting the pool at the half, ahead 12-5.
With some of the big guns back in the pool, Claremont scored six unanswered goals to open the third that mentally defeated California. In fact, the Condors would only score once in the second half when a quick thinking Jesus Padilla flicked one in the right corner on a second chance effort after the shot clock had expired.
One of the big questions facing the defending CIF champions centered on their defense now that star goalkeeper Steven Cagle has graduated.
On Wednesday night, Kellan Grant put any concern about a vacuum to rest with a string of spectacular saves. Grant also played a key role in keeping the team organized.
Padilla had a spectacular night for California, scoring three of his team’s goals with some fine powerful shots. Teammate Jonah Phillips also had a good night with two goals.
Not surprisingly, Claremont’s top scorer was Snow, who had seven goals despite sitting out part of the game. Wong came in a close second with four, and in all 10 players scored at least one goal.
“It [the game] gave some of our younger guys a chance to get a feel for the playoffs. I think nerves always get the best of you but in the third and fourth quarter we executed what we needed to,” said Coach Rodriguez following the game
Asked about his game high of seven goals Snow gave credit to the team. “My teammates set me up pretty well, I am grateful when we have a game like that; we were a cohesive unit tonight,” he said. “In the beginning [of the season] there was a lot of individual play but lately we have been playing well together. To see how the team blossoms over the season, that is fun to watch.”
California entered the CIF tournament as a wild card so it was a tough draw to face the top seeded team right off the bat. However, Coach Tim Woolston praised his team saying it was a “privilege and challenge” to play Claremont in the first round.
“We accept all challenges, my boys are taught to play the same way regardless of who the team is or what their reputation is,” he said.
“These boys had a season last year where they were 7-17 and this year they are 17-9, so it was a huge turnaround. We’ve seen tons of commitment and effort from them and California High School is only going to get better every year,” said Coach Woolston.
Riverside Poly defeated Cajon High on Wednesday and now will face the Pack in the quarterfinals on Saturday at CHS.
On Friday night the Claremont High School Football team lost a last minute heart breaker to South Hills 28-27. The Pack had the lead 27-20 late in the game, but South Hills got a touch down and two-point conversion with 30 seconds remaining. The loss also means that Claremont’s record of 7-3 will leave the team out of the CIF playoffs.
Raine Pohaku Kaheaku-Paiva had an impressive game with 160 total yards and two touchdowns. He had six completions from eight attempts for 114 yards and 41 yards rushing.
Markelle Davis also had a big night with 133 yards rushing and two touchdowns while star running back Duy Tran-Sampson contributed 173 yards of rushing.
Sophomore middle linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu had a great game with 10 solo tackles and nine assists.
The usually disciplined Claremont team had eight penalties, costing the team 87 yards, which was a factor in the eventual loss.
Claremont High School won their first round CIF playoff away game against Apple Valley 3-0 (25-18, 25-12 25-20.) The team did not provide individual statistics. The Pack played Palm Desert on Thursday in Claremont in the second round. Results will be in our next edition.
The boys and girls cross country teams will compete in the CIF southern section preliminaries on Saturday in Riverside with the finals on November 21 at Mt SAC.