Boys’ water polo emerges victorious over Calabasas

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Cam High’s varsity boys’ water polo team began their home game against Calabasas last Wednesday with an enthused, though numerically-challenged, cheer: “SCORPS ON THREE! THREE, TWO ONE, SCORPS!” Fortunately, their polo skills proved to be greater than their counting abilities as they conquered Calabasas 11-10 in a sudden-death overtime.

Cam High established a lead early on in the first quarter, with goals scored by juniors Harrison Mello, Michael Rodriguez and senior David Urrea. Senior Griffin D’Inca, goalie, blocked multiple shots and made a few daring steals from Calabasas. The Scorpions ended the quarter 4-1. 

The Coyotes made their move with ejections, breakaways, and steals that led to three consecutive goals all made by their set player. Marcus Stebbings, senior, snagged a goal after a breakaway to raise the score to 5-4. This lead was short-lived, however, as Calabasas’s set player scored yet another goal on a penalty shot to end the quarter with a 5-5 tie.

Tension ran high among the cheering players, coaches, and crowd as the third quarter commenced. Cam High rotated Cooper D’Inca, sophomore, in as goalie, and the boys strengthened their defensive efforts. The buzzer rang to announce the end of the third quarter with a tied score of 7-7. 

“Last time we played [Calabasas] we lost by one point, so we really wanted to win it,” said Rodriguez. “I was expecting a good performance.” Cam High and Calabasas battled to gain a lead during the fourth quarter. The game remained tied until Urrea made a final goal with an assist from Rodriguez near the end of the quarter, bringing the score up to 9-8.

During the last second of the quarter, Calabasas made a final shot attempt. Chaos ensued as the referee recognized the point, sending the game into a sudden-death overtime. The teams played two additional three-minute quarters to determine the winner.

Calabasas reached the ball first on the initial sprint but, Stebbings stole the ball and assisted Rodriguez in scoring a crucial first point. Calabasas attempted multiple shots, but they were all blocked by Cooper D’Inca in goal. The first quarter of sudden death closed.

Above the roar of the crowd and coaches rose a final cheer of “SCORPS ON THREE! THREE, TWO, ONE, SCORPS!” by the Cam High team before the last quarter of the game. It was with this energy that Cam High fought to keep the ball away from Calabasas, making steals and attempted shots until Stebbings made a final, successful goal — his fourth of the game.

Calabasas managed to score one more point, but the attempt proved futile. Cam High stalled for the last 15 seconds of the game until the buzzer blared, confirming their victory.

The team was elated by their success. The win was a long-overdue victory, exemplifying how the team improved after hours of practice in the mornings and afternoons.

“We’re playing a lot better than last year, definitely, which is most important,” said Stebbings. Rodriguez agreed, further claiming, “It was the best we’ve ever played in a game.”