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POLO PLAYOFF ROUNDUP

Ventura Comes to Life, Defeats Top-Seeded Royal

November 19, 2000|JOHN KLIMA

After a timid first quarter, Ventura High scored 10 consecutive goals to beat Royal, 11-5, in a Southern Section Division IV semifinal water polo game Saturday at UC Santa Barbara.

Paul Carter scored three goals for Ventura and goalkeeper David Miller held Royal scoreless in the second half.

Ventura (24-5) plays Santa Barbara on Wednesday in the final at UC Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara (23-9) advanced with a 7-6 victory over Dos Pueblos.

"I'm numb," said Ventura Coach Joe Abing. "This was the greatest water polo match I've ever been a part of."

The No. 1-seeded Highlanders (26-4) led, 3-0, after the first quarter and 5-1 with 3:08 to play in the second quarter.

"If we got down big, [Abing] told us not to worry," said senior Paul Carter, who led Ventura with three goals. His third quarter goal gave the Cougars a 7-5 lead. "We knew we could come back."

Matt Andrews and Derek Doler scored in the second quarter to trim Royal's lead to 5-3 at halftime.

Nick Wagner scored twice in a one-minute span to open the third quarter. His goal with 5:46 to play tied the score, 5-5. Teague Savitch of Ventura followed with a shot that hit the crossbar and fell behind goalkeeper Tom Onyshko with 4:55 to play.

"Once we saw him score, that sparked us," said Miller, who recorded 13 saves.

Savitch's goal was Ventura's most important.

"I felt the momentum change for us right there," said Savitch. "[Onyshko] is an awesome goalie, but once we had a lead, with [Miller] in our goal post, we had to be totally confident."

Onyshko had eight saves, but only one in Ventura's four-goal third quarter.

"When Teague scored, we knew we could score on [Royal]," Abing said. "Once we took the lead, Royal was so frustrated."

Miller added to the agony. He made three crucial saves in the third quarter--one with the score tied, one with Ventura leading, 6-5, and another with Ventura leading, 7-5.

"I've been saying all along that David is a phenomenal player who plays big in big games," Abing said.

Andy McInally had two goals in the fourth quarter. Seven players scored for Ventura.

"Of all days to pick to have an exceptionally poor second half," Royal Coach Steve Snyder said, "this was the wrong day."

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