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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Agoura Still Waiting to Defeat Ventura

High school water polo: While Chargers try to be patient, Cougars surge away for 10-5 nonleague victory.

October 18, 2000|PAIGE A. LEECH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VENTURA — Patience is a virtue . . . when you have time for it.

Agoura High's best-laid game plan for a patient offense went awry and Ventura pulled away in the second half for a 10-5 victory Tuesday in a nonleague boys' water polo game at Ventura.

Ventura (12-3), ranked No. 2 in Division IV, is no stranger to Agoura, which is 0-6 against the Cougars in the last three seasons.

The Cougars eliminated Agoura in the playoffs the last two years and last month edged the Chargers, 8-6, in the championship game of the Buena tournament.

If Agoura (13-6), ranked No. 5 in Division IV, could maintain a deliberate, steady offense, Agoura Coach Jason Rosenthal thought his team might be able to end its futility streak against the Cougars.

For the most part, it worked. For one half. But Agoura's offense was so deliberate, it was whistled for shot-clock violations on two of its first four possessions and was shut out in the first quarter.

But Agoura scored twice in the final 29 seconds of the first half to pull even, 2-2.

The third quarter, however, proved the Chargers' undoing when they misfired on six shots and failed to convert two six-on-five opportunities.

Ventura surged ahead, scoring three times in the final 3:13 of the quarter for a 5-2 lead.

The Chargers' game plan quickly changed to catch up, at any cost, and Agoura went into a tailspin.

Adam Payan of Ventura scored from short range seconds after James Wong and Paul Stuart were ejected. The Cougars scored on five of six man-up opportunities.

Agoura answered about a minute later when Donavan Tatum scored from the right wing in a man-up opportunity.

But the Chargers, who were three of 15 in the second half, continued to misfire badly in the fourth quarter, with three shots sailing over the goal.

"At the end we tried to get quick goals and cherry-pick a little bit," Rosenthal said. "And we didn't take care of the ball like we should have."

Ventura outscored Agoura, 4-2, in the final 3:15. The Chargers pulled to within 8-5 with 1:11 left on goals by Matt Monaco and Stuart. But the Cougars scored twice from short range in the final 51 seconds.

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