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Skyhawks muscle up vs. Beavers

Talented Southridge opens the 2011 Metro season by rolling past Beaverton 18-3
by: Miles Vance CRANK IT UP — Southridge’s David Stiling rises up for a shot during his team’s 18-3 win over Beaverton at Beaverton Swim Center on Tuesday afternoon.

BEAVERTON - And so it begins for the Southridge boys water polo team.

The Skyhawks, at the start of what they hope is the best season in school history, made that beginning a memorable one, routing Beaverton 18-3 at Beaverton Swim Center on Tuesday in both teams' Metro League opener.

The win lifted Southridge's Metro record to 1-0 and its overall mark to 6-0, while the Beavers fell to 0-1 and 5-2.

For the talented Skyhawks, Tuesday's victory was just what they had hoped for and expected.

'We expect to win all our games this year,' said Southridge sophomore David Stiling, who had five goals. 'We try to come in fired up every single game and try to play our best every single game.'

'We're going to win state for sure,' added junior Cody Blandin, who added one goal of his own and also assisted on four of his team's six second-quarter scores. 'All the way. We just need to stay focused.'

The Beavers, meanwhile, knew they had run into a buzz saw in Southridge, but also knew they still have a chance to make 2011 a good season.

'In my opinion, Southridge is the No. 1 team in the state,' said Beaverton junior Stephen Kearns, who scored two goals Tuesday. 'They're the hardest team we'll ever play so it's kind of good to have them in Metro. It helps us out in our own league against the other teams.'

'I think this game was good experience. It helped us with what we need to do,' added Beaverton junior Dylan Bird. 'When you play better teams, you learn what you need to work on and that's when it really shows.'

The Skyhawks opened the game with goals from Stiling and Blake Hokkanen, but Kearns answered midway through the first quarter and Beaverton trailed just 2-1.

But Southridge made sure it didn't stay close for long.

Southridge's Devon DeJardin and Hokkanen each scored in the final 1 minute, 44 seconds of the first period, and the Skyhawks really stomped on the accelerator in the second period. There, Southridge scored four straight goals to boost their edge to 8-1, and posted a 6-1 advantage in the period to lead 10-2.

Hokkanen got things going two minutes into the period, DeJardin and Blandin followed with goals one minute apart to make it 7-1, and Blandin set up Jarred Rimsby for a shot at close range that made it 8-1 with 1:37 left before halftime.

Kearns stopped that run for the Beavers when he scored from outside, but Stiling connected twice off Blandin passes in the final minute to make it 10-2 at the half.

Already up eight goals, Southridge then notched a 3-0 scoring edge in the third quarter to eliminate any and all Beaverton comeback hopes. Senior Kyle Blandin came through for the first two of those three scores, and DJ Heino added the other to make it 13-2 heading into the final quarter.

Stiling and Kyle Blandin added two more goals each in the fourth, while Beaverton's Victor Tran came through with his team's final score.

Bolstered by their big win, the Skyhawks say they're ready for even more.

'I think this is the best team Southridge has ever had,' Stiling said. 'We just need to come out to practice every day and practice as hard as we can and try to stay humble.'

Despite the loss, the Beavers still believe in their chances for 2011.

'I think we can keep up with the other teams. We just need to do our best,' Bird added.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.