The Warriors get a key win in their drive to be a playoff team for 2006
BEAVERTON - Five Metro League teams are legitimate contenders for the boys water polo state playoffs.
Only four will go.
Aloha intends on being in that quartet and the Warriors stated their case with an 11-8 victory over Southridge on Tuesday at the Beaverton Swim Center. The win placed Aloha in a three-way tie for third with the Skyhawks and Beaverton at 3-3 at the midway point of the league season.
'This is a huge win,' Aloha junior Aaron Bentz said. 'We just stepped it up for this game.'
And the Warriors did so starting in the third quarter with a 6-1 run that turned a two-goal deficit into a 9-6 lead early in the final period.
Bentz led Aloha with six goals including all three of the Warriors' scores in the fourth quarter to keep the Skyhawks at bay. He gave Aloha the 9-6 lead with a nifty backhanded whip from eight meters out into the left side of the goal.
Southridge sophomore Mitch Wise's 5-meter penalty shot into the top-left corner of the cage made it 9-7 before Bentz struck again with another backhanded flip that slid through the keeper's grips and into the goal with two minutes, 21 seconds remaining.
'That's the shot I can capitalize on,' Bentz said of the backhand. 'If they give it to me, I'll take it. If not, I'll find my teammates.'
Bentz all but clinched the victory by skipping in a 5-meter penalty shot with 1:38 left to give Aloha a commanding 11-7 lead.
The Warriors finished 1-10-1 in Metro play last season and are determined to put that behind them. Defense was a big key to them doing so in Tuesday's victory.
'We communicated and played well together,' Aloha coach Kevin Bebb said. 'They have an offensive team. Stopping their game was huge.'
A big part of that was the defense of senior Edward Phan, who limited Wise to three goals.
'Edward put together a great defensive effort on one of the best shooters in the state,' said Bebb in reference to Wise. 'He helped us out a ton.'
Junior Tyler Sinner gave Aloha a 2-1 lead with a buzzer-beating shot that traveled three-quarters of the pool, skipped once and slid past the goalkeeper into the right side of the cage at the end of the first quarter.
Southridge went ahead 3-2 on senior Michael Moshofsky's 10-meter shot into the top-left corner midway through the second period. Wise made it 4-2 with 1:08 left in the half when he skipped in an 8-meter shot inside the left post.
Moshofsky, who had a team-high four goals, fired a goal into the top-right corner early in the third quarter for a 5-3 lead. But the Warriors clamped down on defense in the second half, allowing just one goal over the next 7 ½ minutes to turn a two-goal deficit into a 9-6 advantage.
Aloha went ahead 6-5 when Sinner collected a long pass from senior goalkeeper Isaac Free, fired a hard shot that bounced off the keeper's hands and pushed the loose ball across the goal line.
Moshofsky's penalty shot tied the score before the Warriors took the lead for good when Sinner tucked an 8-meter shot around the diving keeper and off the right post for his third score of the game.