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Wolverines Get a Push Off Deep End

Division I water polo: Third-seeded Foothill eliminates Harvard-Westlake in quarterfinals, 8-5.


NORTH HOLLYWOOD — It was moments after his team lost to Foothill High and Coach Rich Corso of Harvard-Westlake couldn't hide his disappointment.

It wasn't so much that the Wolverines suffered an 8-5 loss Tuesday to the Knights in the Southern Section Division I quarterfinals at Harvard-Westlake.

It was the manner in which it happened.

"We gave up two or three cheap goals," Corso said. "Those are goals we just can't give up."

Not against a team such as Foothill (18-11), a perennial Division I power seeded No. 3 in the playoffs.

Corso also wasn't pleased with his team's production.

"We had some great looks," he said. "We just couldn't get it to go in. When we live with the ball like we do, I'm very disappointed with the shooting."

The offense, which was impressive in a 13-4 victory Thursday over Dana Hills in the first round of the playoffs, struggled most of the match.

With the Wolverines (19-6) trailing, 6-2, after three quarters, the offense finally awakened behind Ted Zepfel.

Zepfel scored two of his three goals in the first four minutes of the quarter, the second of which was set up by a perfect pass from Will Noll, to cut Harvard-Westlake's deficit to 6-4.

Foothill responded with goals by Alex Cripe and Brian Alexander in the final 1:32.

"The kids made some good reads and they did a good job of putting it away when they had the opportunity," said Coach Jim Brumm of Foothill.

Brumm also gave credit to his goalie, Ian Elliott, who finished with seven saves.

Noll and Andrew Herr also scored for Harvard-Westlake.

Wes Fox, Blake Seymour and Alexander each had two goals for Foothill, which advances to the semifinals for the sixth time in seven years.

Harvard-Westlake split two meetings against the Knights in tournaments in September and October, when Brumm said his team wasn't nearly as far along as it is now.

"I think we're a completely different team from when we last played them," he said. "We have a different starting lineup and we're always a slow-starting team."

After watching numerous shots bounce off the crossbar, including two by James Bloomingdale late in the match, Corso said there was something else different from the previous games.

"In the last two games, the crossbar served us well," he said. "This time it worked against us."

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