Mira Costa reached the quarterfinals of the CIF 2-A water polo playoffs by beating Don Lugo on Saturday, 16-3, in Chino. Mira Costa, 22-8, plays the winner of the Santa Ynez-San Marino game Tuesday at an undetermined site.
The Mustangs started slowly after the 70-mile drive and led only 2-1 after one quarter, including a goal that a Don Lugo player scored on his own team on an errant pass to the goaltender.
Team captain Luke Downer said the drive had nothing to do with Mira Costa's sluggish start. "The trip didn't affect us like I was afraid it would, " said Downer, who led the Mustangs with five goals. "We just have to play the whole game."
Mira Costa pulled away in the second and third quarters, aided by a Don Lugo starter fouling out with three personals, and led 12-2 with one six-minute period to go.
Mira Costa coach Mike Nollan said his team's effort improved from Thursday's victory over Magnolia. "We played with higher intensity, but many times not good common sense," Nollan said. "We threw the ball into dangerous situations."
Nollan praised his defense and his goaltenders, including Mark Hocking, who stopped a penalty shot for the second game in a row.
The Mustangs may have to ride further on Tuseday. If Santa Ynez beats San Marino and wins a coin flip to determine home team, Mira Costa will have to travel over 200 miles to play the Pirates.