Gators reach the semifinals; Knights lose their first game


Sacred Heart Prep scored the first three goals of the second half to rally from a deficit and beat Agoura, 7-6, in the quarterfinals of the North-South Challenge, one of the top water polo tournaments in the state, on Friday.

The Gators (14-4) meet Huntington Beach (12-2) in the first semifinal at 11:40 a.m. at Sacred Heart Prep. Mater Dei (14-3) and Miramonte (11-6) meet in the second semi at 12:50 p.m. The winners meet for the championship at 5:20 p.m.

Menlo School dropped a 15-5 decision to Mater Dei in the quarterfinal, its first loss of the season after opening with 19 consecutive wins.

The Knights (19-1) beat Santa Barbara, 11-8, in the opening round, while the Gators opened with a 10-4 victory over Dana Hills.

Gunn lost to Mater Dei, 12-6, and then dropped a 17-14 decision to Santa Barbara. The Titans (14-6) meet Laguna Beach at 8 a.m. Saturday at Gunn.

The Chargers took a 4-2 lead midway through the second quarter before Alex Tsotadze scored two seconds into a power play to close within 4-3 by halftime.

Tsotadze tied the score 23 seconds into the third quarter and Michael Sonsini gave SH Prep its first lead since the opening minute of the game.

Sonsini added another goal midway through the fourth quarter. Agoura scored again, but Walker Seymour gave the Gators a two-goal lead entering the final two minutes of play.

JC Marco recorded 14 saves for SH Prep and Jackson Enright added a pair of goals.

Marco saved 11 shots in the first half of the Gators' victory over Dana Hills and did not play in the second half. Larsen Weigle and Corey Tanis each scored twice for SH Prep and Tsotadze added three.

Menlo goalie Tiago Bonchristiano recorded 26 saves on the day and Sam Untrecht scored seven times. Niko Bhatia scored four times in the win over Santa Barbara.

The Knights took a 2-1 lead, but Mater Dei wore down the Knights with their depth of substitutions.

“We came into this tournament to play against the best teams in the country,” said Menlo coach Jack Bowen. “Being undefeated this deep into the season was never the objective. This is why we put together such a tough schedule every season. That win against Santa Barbara was huge for us as it gives us the chance to play games like this one against Mater Dei. We’re better now than we were two hours ago.”

The Titans were within 8-6 of Santa Barbara early in the third period before the game began to slip away.

The Dons built a six-goal advantage with 2:48 left in the third before Gunn started chipping away and was within 15-13 with more than three minutes to play following goals by Aaron Babian and Quinn Hamilton within 40 seconds of each other.

Jack Mallery and Hamilton each had five goals in the contest. Babian added four.

Mater Dei scored six of the game' first seven goals against Gunn, which got a goal from Patrick Zhao.

Girls water polo

Palo Alto (8-12) lost to Saint Mary's, 4-3, in the first round of the Western States tournament on Friday. The Vikings came back to beat host Pitman, 6-1, and meets Rocklin on Saturday morning at Ripon High.

Menlo-Atherton (10-6) beat Nevada Union, 11-2, lost to Foothill, 7-6, and then beat Turlock, 12-7. The Bears play Sonora on Saturday.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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