Another water polo season has arrived and once again, the Miramonte High boys are proving to be the team to beat in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League and North Coast Section.
The Matadors began defense of their DFAL title by edging Campolindo 11-9 in Wednesday's league opener. Tyler Kirchberg scored the go-ahead goal on a 5-meter penalty shot with five minutes left, and Clay Smudsky added some insurance with a 6-on-5 score with just under two minutes to play.
But it was Miramonte's lockdown defense in the second half that really made the difference. The host Matadors trailed 8-7 at halftime and 9-7 early in the third quarter before shutting out the Cougars the rest of the way.
"I thought we were maybe just a little caught up in the rivalry aspect early in the game," Miramonte coach James Lathrop said. "I thought the guys were sometimes trying to make the big play rather than just making the play that needed to be made. Once we just focused on everyone doing their individual responsibility on each possession, we played pretty well."
Campolindo (6-2 overall) got off to a fast start with Scott Zurnacian scoring on the Cougars' first two possessions.
Miramonte (6-4 overall) tied the score at 2-2, and the rest of the first half was back and forth with neither team leading by more than two goals.
Smudsky, Nick Coufal, Grayson Judge and Jordan Hoover each scored twice to lead the Matadors. The Cougars were paced by three goals each from Zurnacian and Grant Sivesind. Campolindo goalie Spencer Tagg had a strong game in front of the cage, stopping 11 shots.
Miramonte's win comes after taking second place at last weekend's NCS/CCS Invitational.
Girls water polo
Campolindo 10, Miramonte 8: The Cougars held off a spirited comeback by the host Matadors to start the DFAL season with a key victory.
Campolindo led 4-0 after the first quarter and 10-4 early in the final period when Natalie Seidemann lobbed a shot over Matadors goalkeeper Nicola Gonzales.
Miramonte finished strong, though, with Kristen Hong and Kaitey Caron combining for four goals in the final four minutes.
Seidemann and Annika Jensen scored three goals each for Campolindo (6-1 overall).
Amador Valley 203, Granada 252: Kimberly Liu fired a 3-under 33 for the second straight home match at Ruby Hill Golf Club in Pleasanton, helping the Dons beat the Matadors in the East Bay Athletic League.
Acalanes 218, Alhambra 296: Elizabeth Schultz shot a 3-under 33 at Franklin Canyon Golf Course in Hercules to lead the Dons to a win over the Bulldogs in the DFAL.