The562’s coverage of boys’ water polo is sponsored by Aquatic Capital of America Foundation.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
A valiant effort came up short for Wilson boys’ water polo on Saturday at Long Beach City College as the Bruins fell to Corona del Mar 13-9 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals.
“To give a fight like that to the potential champion… It was a great battle,” Wilson head coach Zach Polmanteer said.
The Bruins struck first through Clinton Haltom thirty seconds into the match, but CDM’s Carson Simonson returned a the favor less than 13 seconds later. Wilson’s Sean Tunnicliff and Elijah Vince gave Wilson the early lead, and goalkeeper Brady Simon came up with a tremendous penalty shot save. The Sea Kings worked the Bruins’ interior, finding Camren Simoncelli and Simonson to give CDM the 5-3 lead at the end of the period.
The second quarter was a gritty, defensive battle with multiple ejections. CDM’s Simonson opened the scoring, forcing the Bruins to call a timeout to stop the flurry.
Wilson’s Antonio Lurio Apuzzo got the lone Bruins score of the quarter before CDM’s goalie Chase Campbell blocked a potential momentum shifting penalty shot to end the half. The Sea Kings led 8-4 at the break.
New life emerged from the Bruins in the third quarter, as they capitalized on CDM’s mistakes to swing momentum their side and get the hometown crowd behind them.
Wilson’s Jonas Wyatt found the net twice to close the gap, 8-6, with 4:07 left in the period. Despite their errors, CDM’s Nathan Simoncelli answered back with an inside finish at the two minute mark.
The Bruins continued a furious shooting frenzy on CDM, yet Campbell (and the posts) made stops. Tunnicliff narrowed the gap closer, 9-7, with under two minutes, and the Bruins’ defense stopped a breakaway attempt to end the third.
With a semifinal berth on the line, the fourth quarter was as electric as ever. Despite an ejection to Tunicliff and yellow cards being assessed, Wilson’ Wyatt tied the match, 9-9, with 4:26 left remaining. The Bruin faithful erupted from their seats and roared with excitement.
However, CDM’s Nate Evans would silence the crowd in under 20 seconds, as the Sea Kings reclaimed the lead. Each team was being methodical in their next possessions, and fatigue was setting in for both.
At 1:21, CDM’s Vitaliy Laptev scored the dagger goal giving the Sea Kings the two-goal lead. The Bruins desperate Bruins were forced to press out, which unfortunately led to two more scores by CDM. At the final whistle, it was 13-9 Sea Kings.
“I’m nothing but proud of these guys,” explained Polmanteer.
The Bruins finished 14-14, and they stayed undefeated in Moore League. The team finished top ten in CIF-Southern Section Division 1, at No. 8 in the polls.
“From the early mornings to the late nights, I love the passion and fight the team has,” Polmanteer added. “I wish good luck to our seniors, and hey, like we say, it’s ‘Win or Learn’, and we have some learning to do.”