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Harvard Fouls Out of Playoffs : Water polo: Shorthanded at the finish, Wolverines can't hold off Foothill in 10-9 defeat.


STUDIO CITY — As Harvard-Westlake High water polo Coach Rich Corso put it, the Wolverines could only keep "our fingers in the dam" for so long.

And it became even more difficult after they lost some fingers.

Fifth-ranked Harvard, playing shorthanded for much of the game because of fouls, lost 10-9, to fourth-ranked Foothill in a Southern Section Division I quarterfinal match Tuesday at Harvard.

The Knights' Robby Arroyo and Adam Metzger scored back-to-back six-on-five goals midway through the fourth quarter, breaking an 8-8 tie.

Arroyo's tie-breaking goal, with 4 minutes 6 seconds to play, came just after Harvard's Albert Won was ejected with his third foul. The Wolverines earlier lost J.J. Arden with three fouls.

Without them, Harvard (21-6) was unable to play the high level of defense it had for most of the game. The Wolverines allowed only five goals in 15 shorthanded situations. Harvard goalie Vahe Aharonian even stopped one of three four-meter penalty shots, which are typically automatic goals.

The problem was, four of the Knights' five man-advantage goals came in the second half, after Harvard took a 7-5 lead.

"We weren't patient early," Foothill Coach Jim Brumm said. "We really didn't get more patient, but we shot a little better."

Most of the Knights' shots were finding everything but the back of the net in the first three quarters. When they weren't hitting the post or shooting wide, they hit Aharonian, who made 20 saves in the last three quarters.

Corso started Brian Peterson in goal and planned to alternate the goalies, but stuck with Aharonian from the second quarter on because, "He was on fire."

So was Harvard senior driver Jimmy Duff, who had four goals. Duff scored three goals in the first quarter and had the last goal of the game with 1:15 left.

Arroyo and Jeff Pfluenger scored three goals each for Foothill (22-5), which will play Corona del Mar in Saturday's semifinals.

The Wolverines broke a 5-5 tie with two goals in the third quarter. Aharonian stopped Pfluenger on a four-meter shot, cresting Harvard's emotional wave.

Unfortunately for the Wolverines, their intensity was not enough to stop the Century League champions on too many more six-on-five advantages.

With four man-advantage goals, and one off a free pass, the Knights turned a 7-5 deficit into a 10-8 lead in six minutes.

Crescenta Valley 19, La Canada 12--The Falcons pulled away by outscoring the Spartans, 7-2, in the second quarter of the Division III quarterfinal at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.

Crescenta Valley (24-4) will face La Serna in the semifinals.

Joey Bennett scored nine goals for the Falcons and Chad Celi added four, both getting two in the second quarter.

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