First published in the Oct. 7 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
San Marino High School’s varsity boys’ water polo team opened the Bull Run Tournament with a tough task at hand — its opponent was top-seeded Chino Hills.
The Titans fell behind 6-4 at the half but rallied in the third quarter behind two goals each from Sebastian Moggio and Howard Huang along with goals from Jonathan Hernandez and Daniel Chen to tie it up going into the fourth quarter.
San Marino and Chino Hills traded goals in the fourth quarter and, with a minute left, the Titans were down by a single goal. Coach Robert Zirovich called a timeout and the Titans attempted a proverbial “Hail Mary,” but ultimately fell to Chino Hills 15-12 despite additional goals from Moggio and Huang.
Moggio and Huang each finished with four goals, Chen registered two while Hernandez and Marcus Koh added a goal apiece. Goalie Thomas Zhu had seven saves.
San Marino matched up with their West San Gabriel Valley rival Arcadia in the second game of the tournament. Both teams know each other extremely well as four of the starters on the varsity squads from each school play for the Mid Valley Water Polo Club, which finished 12th in the nation at the Junior Olympics two months ago among a field of 96 teams.
Marcus Koh notched four goals and Moggio added three to allow the Titans to take a comfortable 7-3 lead in the first quarter. San Marino stayed in control until the third quarter, when Moggio received his third ejection and was forced to sit on the bench. Arcadia clawed its way back, eventually winning, 20-18. San Marino resident and Arcadia High School student Nathaniel Loo finished with five goals.
For San Marino Koh, Huang, and Moggio each hit for four goals, while Chen, Hernandez and Christian Madrigal-Reza finished with two goals apiece. Goalie Nathan Chan finished with 11 saves and three assists.
The Titans bounced back in the next game, coming out of the first quarter against Santa Ana’s Segerstrom High School with a commanding 6-0 lead as Nathan Chan scored three notable goals on counter-attacks. San Marino cruised through the next three quarters and won the contest 15-2.
Chan and Moggio scored three goals apiece while Koh, Huang and Jack Li each added two goals. Chen, Hernandez and Madrigal-Reza scored a goal apiece and Zhu finished with four saves and four assists in goal.
In their final game of the Bull Run Tournament, the Titans faced Temecula’s Great Oak High School. Trailing much of the way, the Wolfpack eventually tied the game at 5-5 in the third period. But the Titans did not cave in to the pressure, rallying with eight goals from that point, including three each from Moggio and Huang, and one apiece from Chan and Chen to finish the tournament with a 13-8 victory.
Moggio finished the game with a team-high five goals, Huang and Koh added three apiece and Chen contributed with a pair of markers. Zhu finished with six saves and two assists in goal for the Titans, who are 6-3 overall and 0-1 in Rio Hondo League play.