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Barlow steals one from Sandy boys

The Bruins beat Sandy's boys water polo team 7-5 and grab a share of the conference title
by: Michael Cade, Barlow assistant coach Michael Riegelmann recovers after being thrown into the pool during the Bruins' victory celebration.

High school water polo games don't get much bigger than this.

If Barlow were to lose, they would kiss a share of the Mount Hood Conference title goodbye.

If Barlow were to win, they would be crowned co-champions--at the very least-- and have a shot at the No. 1 seed going into the state playoffs.

And guess what?

The Bruins delivered.

Their win was hard-fought, as the visiting Pioneers got off to an early 2-0 lead, thanks to Connor Sheprow and Philip Bradley.

Sheprow floated one into the cage during the game's opening minute, taking Barlow's outstanding goalie Aaron Hansen by surprise. Less than two minutes later, Bradley scored on a rebound shot in front of the cage.

But the Bruins were able to tie up the proceedings after Colin Bourgeois

and Joel Mattecheck each scored in the second period.

Barlow took a 4-3 lead into halftime as Joe Smoot and Bourgeois each scored.

Sandy appeared to wrestle away some momentum in the third period, as Mason Taylor lofted in a shot from close range to tie the game 4-4.

But Barlow took control in the fourth, as Mattecheck, Smoot, and Bourgeois combined for three goals.

'Perfect,' Bourgeois said. 'I couldn't think of a better way to go out. Sandy's our rival.'

The Pioneers were far from deflated, though and Sandy offered the rival Bruins considerable praise.

'I knew they were going to be tough,' Sandy coach Bobby DeRoest said. 'They've gotten better all year.'

Plus, there was the Hansen factor. The senior goalie has been stellar all season long. Sandy coach Bobby DeRoest admitted that Hansen's mere presence was a factor in the game's outcome.

'He makes us a think a little bit more,' DeRoest said.

Bourgeois' third and final goal of the evening came as time expired.

The ecstatic Bruins celebrated by tossing fully-clothed assistant coach Michael Riegelmann into the pool.

If Sandy defeats Gresham on Tuesday, Oct. 31, the Pioneers and Bruins will play a tiebreaker playoff game at a neutral site to decide the league's No. 1 seed for the playoffs.

- GIRLS-

The Sandy girls team nearly came back from a 5-2 deficit thanks to Jamie Paul, who had three fourth quarter goals.

The Pioneers eventually tied the game 6-6, but Barlow's Jaime Nippert hit the game-winning goal with 17 seconds left.

Nippert finished the night with five goals.