By TRISTAN MALHOTRA
Sports Section Editor
After a 3-game losing streak, the UHS Boys Water Polo Team responded with a resounding 10-5 victory over Pacifica High School. The Trojans finished 2-3 in the Newport Rib Co. Classic Tournament, their second tournament in two weeks, and look to build off of the win.
UHS opened the tournament with a 10-5 win over Romona High School (RHS). Jacob Ghahremani (Sr.) and Benjamin Gomez (Jr.) led the team with 4 and 3 goals, respectively. Kian Abolhoda (Sr.) and Scott Laske (Jr.) rotated in at goal, filling the goalie spot with 6 and 3 saves, respectively. The Trojans started strong, leading RHS 8-3 at the half, and kept scoring to a minimum in the second half to secure the victory.
Despite the strong start to the tournament, the Trojans suffered three straight defeats over the course of two days, including one especially devastating loss. UHS first fell 14-6 to Costa Mesa High School, but Brad Nunamaker (Jr.) shone with 3 goals. A poor first quarter performance doomed the Trojans in this game. They then suffered another loss to Yorba Linda High School by a score of 11-6 despite a 7-save performance from Abolhoda.
UHS then faced St. John Bosco High School (SJBHS), who previously defeated the Trojans the weekend before in a game which many Trojans felt they should have won. This time, the game stayed nearly even throughout, and the two teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 3 goals apiece thanks to another strong performance from Abolhoda in goal. Then, SJBHS took advantage of two mistakes to take a lead that they would not surrender, and UHS fell 7-6.
“Coach was livid because it was individual faults and mistakes in two back-to-back plays that made us falter,” Abolhoda said. “We only managed to score one goal after that so it made the loss that much more painful.”
Despite this painful loss, the Trojans ended the tournament with a dominant 10-5 victory over Pacifica High School (PHS), whom they had previously beaten the weekend before. Abolhoda held PHS with his 13 saves while Ghahremani, Nunamaker and Gomez scored 2 goals apiece to secure the victory.
Reflecting on his performance in goal over the weekend, Abolhoda said, “Since I’m not too experienced playing goal keeper, every game is a challenge. But, I feel like a bigger aid on defense not only blocking shots, but also by acting as an eagle-eye for my team’s defense.”