Boys water polo: The Wolves hold off the persistent Tigers for a 21-12 win
TUALATIN - The young Tualatin High School boys water polo team was looking to finally put things all together.
And, perhaps inspired by playing their rivals from Tigard, the Timberwolves just may have done that.
Tualatin picked up its first Pacific Conference win of the season by scoring a 21-12 victory over the Tigers in a league game played Sept. 21 at the Tualatin Swim Center.
'This was a really big win for us,' said Tualatin senior Evan Kaeding, who is one of the few returning players Tualatin has from last year's team that reached the state championship game. 'It's the Tigard-Tualatin rivalry and it was our first league win. It's definitely important. It feels good to win again.'
With the victory, the Wolves improved to 1-2 in league games at that point. Tigard saw its league record evened at 2-2 with the setback.
The Wolves got off to a quick start in last week's game, taking a 2-0 lead with 3 minutes and 6 seconds left in the first quarter after senior Wilson Giles and Kaeding scored back-to-back goals to start the contest.
Tigard cut the lead to 2-1 on a goal by Andy Pin coming with 2:18 left in the opening period. But Tualatin answered with a goal by freshman Harry Visse, off a pass from junior Clay McKean, and a goal by Kaeding, off an assist by junior Ludwig Avendano, to up the margin to 4-1 with 28.3 seconds left in the quarter.
Pin scored on a no-look backhand goal off a pass by Brad Hansen with 1.2 seconds left in the period to cut the Tualatin lead to 4-2 going into the second quarter.
But the Tigers got some bad news in the first moments of the second quarter, as Pin drew his third ejection, disqualifying him from the rest of the contest.
Soon after, Giles scored back-to-back goals to give Tualatin a 6-2 lead with 5:24 left in the period.
Parker Lambert answered with a pair of goals for the Tigers, but Tualatin got goals from Kaeding, Avendano, Giles and senior Forrest Loftgren to increase the margin to 10-4 with 2:23 left before halftime.
Lambert struck again, scoring off an assist from Adam Odeh, but Giles and Kaeding answered back again for the Wolves, notching consecutive goals.
A mid-pool shot by Lambert with 3.9 seconds left in the quarter cut the Tualatin lead to 12-6 at halftime.
The Tigers seemed to carry that momentum into the third quarter. Kenny Nys scored on a long-range goal to start the period. Later in the quarter, Tigard's Gannon O'Gorman tallied three straight goals to trim the Tualatin lead to 14-10 with 39.2 seconds left in the period.
Kaeding scored on a deflected shot to end the Tigard streak, but the Tigers got a goal by Michael Joseph off a pass from Nys with 1.4 seconds left in the period to cut the Tualatin lead to 15-11 going into the fourth quarter.
But the Wolves stepped up in the opening minutes of the final stanza to pull away. Giles scored consecutive goals to start the quarter. Kaeding and Visse followed with one goal apiece to give Tualatin a 19-11 advantage with 4:22 remaining.
A goal by Lambert made the score 19-12, but Tualatin answered with late goals by Giles and Kaeding to wrap up the 21-12 victory.
'We had a lot of fun today,' Kaeding said. 'We were definitely fired up for this one. This is a building year for us. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores, but definitely think we'll keep on getting better.'
Giles and Kaeding paced Tualatin in the victory with eight goals apiece. Visse added a pair of goals.
Lambert led Tigard with five goals. O'Gannon had three goals for the Tigers.
Tualatin, on Monday, won 17-9 at home to Lake Oswego behind the play of Visse, Giles and Kaeding.
The Tigers were tipped 8-7 by West Salem in a non-league game on Tuesday.
The Wolves were scheduled to play at Forest Grove and Tigard was to travel to Newberg on Wednesday. Results of those games weren't available when the Times went to press.