The Campolindo High boys water polo team claimed its first North Coast Section title in school history, defeating two-time defending champion Miramonte 11-10 in the Division I final Saturday at Acalanes High on a last-minute goal by Dylan Fara.
With time winding down on a 6-on-5 opportunity and 26 seconds left on the game clock, Fara side-armed a shot into the back of the net to give the Cougars (22-6) their first lead since the second quarter.
"We called a timeout and set up a play to try to get an open shot," Fara said of his game-winner. "I was just the one that got to shoot it. Just sat there, looked for an open shot and put it away."
Miramonte got off two more shots in the closing seconds, but goalie Spencer Tagg stopped one of them and the other went wide. Campolindo soon began celebrating by tossing coach Miles Price into the pool.
Fara, one of just three seniors on the team, finished with four goals in beating the rival Matadors (19-9) for the first time in his career.
Miramonte, which got six goals from junior Jordan Hoover, has played in the last nine NCS championship games, winning seven of them.
The Matadors claimed the last two championships with late goals, but had the tables turned on them this year. Miramonte led 7-6 at halftime and held a 10-9 lead when Clay Smudsky hit an outside shot with 2:54 left.
But the Cougars tied the score on a Garrett Felix goal with 1:16 left and got a couple big stops from Tagg in the final minutes.
Senior Grant Sivesind finished with two goals, both on 5-meter penalty shots that he also drew.
It was the first time since 2007 that the Campolindo boys had made an NCS final.
Alhambra 9, Redwood 6: The top-seeded Bulldogs earned their first NCS championship, beating the No. 2 Giants (24-5) at Acalanes High.
Drew Cisterman scored five goals to lead Alhambra (21-6), which had made the Division II title games each of the last three seasons, only to lose in the final every time. On Saturday, the Bulldogs took an early 2-0 lead and never looked back.
"We're a little let down because we thought we were going to win," said Redwood's Brandon West, who led the Giants with four goals. "We weren't playing hard enough, we weren't pressing hard enough, they wanted the win more and they went out and they took it."
Turnovers and Bulldog steals crippled Redwood, which showed flashes but couldn't sustain the momentum needed for any kind of serious comeback.
"We knew we could match up well with this team but it did show that they had more experience in the final game," Skylar Calandra said. "We were ready, but we came out a little slow ... we played hard in the second half but it was just a little too late."
Calandra added two goals in the second half, where Redwood actually outscored Alhambra 4-3.
-- Jamie Wells, Marin Independent Journal