NCS Title Slips away in Overtime


Madeleine Singh, Sports Editor

Though the stands at Acalanes’ Heaston Aquatic Center were filled with supporters during the North Coast Section Division I Mens’ Water Polo Championship, the defending champions fell to their rivals on November 12.

The game went to double overtime, with Miramonte inching ahead, 12-10, for the victory. While the players and fans were disappointed, the outcome was not entirely unexpected.  The Cougars had been defeated by Miramonte during the regular season on October 19. Miramonte was also awarded the top seed going into the tournament.  The Cougars were ranked 2nd.

The championship game was not without controversy. Campolindo’s 1st goal, by junior Michael Wheeler, was reviewed by the referees for nearly ten minutes. The delay was caused by debate over whether or not the score had occurred before the clock ran out. Minutes after the 1st goal was confirmed, Wheeler scored again, putting the Cougars ahead, 2-0.

Miramonte fought back with 3 goals of their own, but the quarter ended with Campolindo ahead, 4-3, after goals from Wayne Hawkins and Giorgio Alessandria.

Miramonte managed to even the score at 4-4 before the end of the 1st half.

Goals by Tommy Hawkins, Garrett Dunn, and Christian Meckfessel helped keep the Cougars ahead. Then, in the 4th quarter, the offense went cold while the defense allowed the Mats to pull even.  Regular time expired with the score knotted at 9-9.

Miramonte scored with only 1 minute to go in the 1st overtime period, but a goal by Wheeler tied things up once more at 10-10.

The Cougars looked exhausted during the 2nd period of overtime, allowing Miramonte to score twice.  The 2015 champions seemed finally to be out of answers and the game ended 12-10.

“Honestly, I don’t think there was that much [that we could have done better]… there were a few lapses on defense, but I think [Miramonte] has a few players that are really good and in that game, they were just better than us,” admitted Wheeler.

While it was a tough way to end the season, Wheeler was already looking ahead with expectations for next year. “We’re gonna be really strong next year. We’re going to lose a few key players- Peter Brassinga and Wayne Hawkins- but otherwise I think we have a lot of strong players returning and will have a really good team,” he said.