League-leading Wildcats muscle past Warriors
Aloha challenges, but can't beat Westview in Metro League action
CEDAR MILL - If the Westview boys water polo team was hoping for an artistic success on Tuesday against Aloha, it didn't get it.
But the Wildcats did get the win on Tuesday at Sunset Swim Center, holding off a game Aloha squad 11-7 to improve to 7-1 in Metro League play and stay a half-game ahead of Sunset for first place.
'It was an ugly last half on our part, but ... they're coming off a roll, and after us losing to Southridge, I was just going for the 'W,' said Westview coach Jeff Lee.
'We tried to pick it up toward the end, but we kind of walked with it,' admitted Westview senior Kyle Wilson, who led his team with four goals.
For Aloha, which fell to 4-4 after impressive wins over Beaverton and Southridge, Tuesday's game marked another step forward, even if it didn't result in a victory.
'We've been improving a lot over the season with our wins over Southridge and Beaverton, and we thought that with that newly gained confidence we could come in and play with them,' said Aloha senior Edward Phan, who scored twice against Westview. 'And I think we played great today.'
'Our boys have come out in the last week and really asserted themselves, gained a little composure,' Warriors' coach Kevin Bebb said.
Despite Aloha's best efforts, Westview started Tuesday's game on a pretty good roll, getting four goals in the first 3 minutes, 32 seconds of the opening quarter to lead 4-1. Thomas Traudt bookended his two goals around scores by Wilson and teammate John Abercrombie, while Phan notched the Warriors' lone score in the opening stanza.
Aloha slowed the Cats' pace somewhat in the second quarter, playing to a 3-2 deficit and trailing 7-3 with Westview getting scores from Nima Ahmadi, Scott Tienken and Zach Helm and the Warriors responding with two goals by Aaron Bentz.
But when the Cats started quickly again in the third quarter, getting three Wilson goals to lead 10-3, it looked like it was all over.
Aloha, however, had other ideas.
The Warriors shut out Westview for the next 3:16, held Westview to a single goal in the last 8:05 of the game and tacked on four of their own to crawl back into contention.
During that stretch, Bentz notched three of his game-high five goals and Phan added his second, with 1:07 left in the fourth quarter, to cut Westview's lead to 11-7.
While Aloha would get no closer, the Warriors knew they'd proven their ability to play with the Metro League's best team.
'Coach Kevin Bebb told us that we were a fourth-quarter team, which we have been over the season, and he told us to remember what we've learned and just keep our minds straight and that's what we did,' Phan said.
'All season they've been a second-half team,' Bebb said. 'They kind of find themselves with a big hole coming into the half and having to dig their way out in the second. That's kind of the way the season has gone.'
And for Westview, the Wildcats were happy to get out with a win and their Metro League lead intact.
'We tried to work on our cross-cage passes and just our fundamentals, to get our fundamentals before we get to state,' Wilson said. 'We're just trying to pick up the intensity toward the end.'
In upcoming games, Westview hosts Beaverton at Sunset Swim Center at 4 p.m. today (Thursday) and faces Sunset back at Sunset Swim Center at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Aloha hosts Sunset at Aloha Swim Center at 4 p.m. today and hosts Hillsboro at 4 p.m. Tuesday.