Over two years, the De La Salle High water polo team had absorbed several painful losses to San Ramon Valley. The Spartans had been defeated by the Wolves in games that decided the East Bay Athletic League title last two seasons as well as in the North Coast Section Division I semifinals last year.
On Thursday, De La Salle finally got even.
The Spartans erupted for four goals in the final period to beat San Ramon Valley 9-6. Colin Chiapello led the Spartans with three goals, and Owen Shackleton's skip shot with 5 minutes, 55 seconds left broke a 5-5 tie and gave De La Salle the lead for good.
Now the Spartans (11-4, 4-0 EBAL) sit alone atop the EBAL standings, while the Wolves (10-4, 3-1 EBAL) fall to second. Each team has three league games left.
That opportunity gave a De La Salle team that has lacked consistency at times plenty of motivation against its main competition in EBAL play.
"The league always brings it out of you," said De La Salle coach Scott Hirsch. "(My players) had this game marked on their calendar since last year."
The teams had played as recently as last Saturday at a tournament, the NCS/CCS Challenge, with San Ramon Valley winning 11-8. But De La Salle's defense, especially goalie Ariel Anderson Feldman, was on point, and the Spartans converted on their chances on offense.
After De La Salle led 3-0 in the first period, Nick Pasichuke rallied San Ramon Valley and the score was tied at half. The game remained tight in the third quarter before the Spartans took control with four straight goals in the fourth.
Pasichuke led the Wolves with four goals.
Granada 193, Carondelet 197: Janelle Reali shot a 1-under 33 at Diablo Country Club to lead the Matadors past the Cougars in an EBAL match. Yuri Ahn shot a 37 and Taylor Robles shot a 39 for Granada (8-4 EBAL). Leading Carondelet (9-3) were Blake Haverty (34) and Sabrina Virtusio (37).
Amador Valley 198, California 268: Kimberly Liu shot an even-par 36 at Ruby Hill Golf Club to help lead the Dons past the Grizzlies in an EBAL match. Amador Valley (13-3, 11-1 EBAL) had the top five scores, including Emily Lin (39) and Kelly Shotwell (40) and Sabrina Bodnar. California's league record fell to 5-7.