On Nov. 21, 2015, the Redlands East Valley Boys Water Polo team won their first CIF-SS Division 5 Championship.
The team had a tough road to get through to earn the championship. They defeated the No. 3, No. 2, and No. 1 seeds in three consecutive games. These three teams included Ayala, La Serna, and the defending champions Claremont. Between the three games, REV had a total of seven overtimes.
The Wildcats defeated Claremont in a heated game with a score of 7-5. They were able to pull it off even though Claremont had a one goal lead at halftime.
In the first quarter Claremont took a 1-0 lead 50 seconds into the game, but the Wildcats don’t go down without a fight and about one minute later they score to tie the game. Neither team scored for the remainder of the quarter. It wasn’t until about a minute and a half into the second quarter that Claremont scored again to take the lead.
Wildcat freshman Nick Flemington took a lob shot with 2:36 left before halftime. After that the Wolfpack scored one more goal before halftime making the score 3-2 Claremont.
To start off the second half, REV scored a quick goal to tie the game. After this they would then score another three unanswered goals. Out of these three unanswered goals, two of them came with less than one minute before the fourth quarter.
Between the third and fourth quarter, the Wildcat crowd was pumped up after gaining the 6-3 lead over Claremont.
The Wolfpack began to fight back early in the fourth quarter, scoring within the first minute cutting REV’s lead down to just two. Claremont would score once more with only four minutes remaining, shortening the margin to one.
After gaining a man up with about three minutes remaining the Wildcats used this to gain a two point lead once again. Claremont earned possession with just over three minutes.
With many saves by REV goalie Harrison Land in the last three minutes, the Wildcats were able to maintain their lead, defeating the defending champs, the Wolfpack, in order to take their first ever CIF championship.
Land made 14 saves in the finals, helping REV complete its difficult playoff run. Throughout the whole game Coach Ryan Williams started four freshmen, stating that they definitely did not play like freshmen, as they played like juniors and seniors, like they have been here before.
Before entering the CIF playoffs, the Wildcats were called the team of the future, but after claiming their first championship, they were then nicknamed “the team of the present.”