Southridge builds a six-goal lead but holds on to win just 14-12

BEAVERTON — Back and forth, up and down, punch and counterpunch — last week’s Southridge-Beaverton boys water polo match just about had it all.

In a match between two of the Metro League’s best teams — held Sept. 27 at Beaverton Swim Center — the Skyhawks raced out to a 5-0 lead in just over three minutes, saw the Beavers storm back within 7-6 at the half, pushed out again to 13-7 lead in the third, then held on to finally win by 14-12.

by: MILES VANCE - RACE FOR IT - Beaverton senior Stephen Kearns (no. 9) and Southridge player Matt Braun race for the ball during the Skyhawks 14-12 Metro League victory over the Beavers at Beaverton Swim Center on Sept. 27.

“Honestly, our defense was terrible this game,” said Southridge junior David Stiling, who led his team with four goals in the win. “We came out hard in the first and hard in the third, but ... we need to play intense every single quarter.”

“We hope to (start) like that every game, but after that, we just had some breakdowns on defense with our communication,” added senior Jarred Rimby, who had three goals in the victory. “We had some issues getting ourselves out of alignment. We got in our own heads and our mistakes sort of snowballed.”

Still, the win — along with a 6-4 victory over Lincoln on Tuesday — lifted Southridge (the 2011 state champ) to 3-0 in league play and gave it sole possession of first place. The Beavers, meanwhile, beat Aloha 11-4 on Tuesday and took their record to 1-2.

“We came into the game thinking ‘It’s the number one team in the state. Just try hard and do your best,’” said Beaverton senior Stephen Kearns, who had three goals in the loss. “But after some of our better players started getting shots to go in, we gained confidence for the entire team and we really picked it up and realized we could compete with them.”

“They’re our highest competition right now, and knowing that we almost beat them ... that gives me confidence about going against all the other teams below us,” added Beaver senior Dylan Bird, who added two goals against the Skyhawks.

Southridge opened the game at full throttle, racing out to a 5-0 lead in the game’s first 3:09 on a Cody Blandin score assisted by Matt Braun, then got two goals each from Stiling and Rimby in just 2:13 for that 5-0 lead, with three of those scores set up by Blake Hokkanen passes.

“We told our guys they had to get back on defense because that’s how they were getting all their goals,” Kearns said.

And the Beavers did stem the tide, got late goals from Daniel Howse and Kearns, and cut their deficit to 6-2 entering the second period. Beaverton kept its momentum there, posting a 4-1 scoring edge and closing within 7-6 thanks to scores from Jeff Soles, James Gayaldo, Kearns and William Bird. The Beavers also benefitted in that period by getting two ejections on Hokkanen and one each on Braun and Camden Rimby.

“What worked good was we had a lot of teamwork going on, and we earned those ejections,” Dylan Bird said. “We were working as a team.”

The Skyhawks came back strong in the third period, racing to a 6-1 edge in the first 4:38 of the quarter to lead 13-7. Blandin had two of those goals for Southridge, while Hokkanen, Jarred Rimby, Stiling, and Mark Moshofsky also cashed in for the Skyhawks.

But again, Beaverton wouldn’t go away. Howse converted a long shot in the final minute of the third to make it 13-8, and the Beavers opened the fourth quarter with a 4-0 run that brought them within a single goal at 13-12. Most of those shots came from five yards or farther, starting with a score by Dylan Bird and followed quickly by successful attempts by Kearns, Howse and Jackson Warner, Warner’s goal cutting the lead to one with 2:53 left to play.

“We were consistently getting goal after goal and pushing them, and slowly they started to break down,” Dylan Bird said. “It was a really close game.”

Hokkanen answered for Southridge to make it 14-12, and the Southridge defense — finally — did the rest.

“We’re shooting to win the state title. We definitely have the talent for it,” Stiling said. “But we need to keep working hard.”

“This game shows we have a lot of work to do still,” Jarred Rimby said. “I’m confident we can get there but we’ve got to pick up the pace.”

In upcoming games, Southridge hosts Sunset at Beaverton Swim Center at 5 p.m. today (Thursday), while Beaverton faces Westview at Sunset Swim Center at 5 p.m. today, then hosts Sunset at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to

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