By DOMINIC RIOS
On Friday, Sept. 22 and Saturday, Sept. 23, the Redlands East Valley Wildcats participated in America’s Finest City Kap7 Men’s Invitational Water Polo tournament. They played five games in 28 hours. The opening game of their tournament was against the Redondo Union Seahawks where the Wildcats secured the win with a score of 8-1. They then played again at 8 p.m. The Wildcats did not let up and continued to start the tournament strong when they played La Jolla and ended the night with a shutout win of 8-0.
The next morning, the Wildcats played the Buchanan Bears from Clovis. They were able to win the game with goals from Maverick McMurtry, Chad Gornay, and Nick Flemington at the end of the first half and goals by Dominic Rios and Adain Behr to take a 5-3 lead going into the second half. That is all they would need to win, but the Wildcats capped off their victory with an additional three goals, two of which Maverick scored and one by Michele “Michael” Sallustio to end the game 8-4. The Wildcats then advanced to the semifinals where they would play the tournament-favored team to win, the Campolindo Cougars.
The Wildcats were still in the game at halftime, but exhaustion overtook the Wildcats and Campolindo went on to play in the finals where they won in overtime and took first for the tournament. With the loss behind them, REV still had one more game to take third place in the tournament. The Wildcats’ final opponent would be the tournament host, the Cathedral Catholic Dons, who had beaten REV earlier in the year.
The Wildcats started off this game against the Dons slow and out-of-rhythm. The Wildcats began the game losing to the Dons. Of course, while keeping up their defense, the Wildcats took the lead. Zach scored his third goal of the game in the third quarter to tie the game up at 6 points with a skip to the goalie’s right and less than six minutes left to play. Later, with about a minute left in the third left, Dominic scored to take the lead 7-6. The Wildcats then secured their win against the Dons with four goals in the fourth quarter by Nick and Zach each scoring one and Maverick scoring two. The Wildcats defeated the Dons to take third in the tournament.
The Wildcats had an overall outstanding tournament performance both defensively and offensively. The team’s three top scorers were Nick Flemington with six goals, Zach Arthur with eight goals, and Maverick McMurtry with 13 goals. Overall, the Wildcats scored 39 goals and only allowed 22 in their 5 games of playing. The defensive end is where the Wildcats shined the most. The team had a total of 13 field blocks and 52 steals, while the goalies had a total of 55 saves.
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