Tualatin boys take it all against rival Tigard
TIGARD — The Tualatin High School boys water polo team had it all in Monday's game.
The Timberwolves got to work on their game, they took a big early lead, they got some younger guys some experience, and they got a win over their rivals.
Tualatin took command early and went on to score a 15-7 win over rival Tigard in a Three Rivers League opener played at the Tigard Aquatic Center.
"It went really well," Tualatin senior Josh Lakeman said after the game. "Our team played the best that we could. We've improved so much over the season, with defense, passing, and it's always nice to beat the rivals."
"It was pretty good," Tualatin junior Hudson Knakal said. "We got the score up with some of the starters, and then we got the inexperienced guys get in the pool and get a chance to compete out there. It was fun watching them and cheering them on."
With the loss, the young — very young — Tigard team moved to 0-6 on the season. Tualatin not only got off to a winning start to league play, but the Wolves also improved to 2-7 on the season.
"We've had ups and downs, but we're learning a lot from our mistakes, and we're carrying that into the next game that we play," Lakeman said.
"It was kind of a tough preseason, but we learned a lot of valuable things, and that was good," Knakal said. "We're helping the new players get up and get ready for the rest of the season."
The Wolves are also fielding a young team this season, with Lakeman being the squad's only senior.
"It's been fun, especially in a leadership role, being a mentor to these guys," Lakeman said. "It's so awesome leading and teaching, and doing all I can for the program."
Tualatin took control early in Monday's match. Lakeman and junior James Lawrance each scored twice in the first three minutes of the game, while freshman George Heilig and Knakal each added a goal, giving the Wolves a 6-0 advantage with 3 minutes and 12 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
Tigard got on the scoreboard, with freshman Nolan Scott scoring with 1:06 left in the opening period, making the score 6-1 going into the second quarter.
The Tigers opened the second period with a goal by freshman Jonathon Watson, trimming the margin to 6-2 with 5:13 left in the first half.
Tualatin answered back. The Wolves got a breakaway goal by freshman Kent Pham, a goal by Knakal, coming off a pass from freshman Theo Buchwald, and a goal by sophomore Lucas Gornick, coming off an assist by Knakal, giving Tualatin a 9-2 lead with 1:50 left in the period.
From there, Tigard got a goal by freshman Jonathon Hosley, and Lakeman scored for Tualatin, off a pass from Heilig, giving the Wolves a 10-3 halftime lead.
Lakeman, Knakal, Pham, freshman Kadence Morgan and sophomore Matthew Levitsky all scored for Tualatin in the third quarter, giving the Wolves a 15-3 lead going into the final stanza.
But the young Tigers, with eight freshmen, one sophomore and one junior on their roster, kept fighting.
Holsey scored for Tigard with 5:08 left to play in the game. Scott, playing at shallow end goalie in the period, scored on a full-length-of-the-pool shot with 3:34 remaining. Tigard freshman Roman Snyder scored with 2:42 remaining, and Hosley scored off a pass from Watson with 1:09 left to play, making the final score 15-7.
"This was really fun," Lakeman said. "We ran up the score a little bit with our starters, then we put in our JV guys, and we were especially trying to get goals for our guys who aren't that experienced, to boost their confidence."
"We were working on our passing, and setting up plays," Knakal said. "We're a pretty good counter team, but, at the same time, we need to know when to pull it back and set up the plays on the offense."
Lakeman led a balanced Tualatin scoring attack in the win with four goals. Knakal added three goals. Lawrance and Pham had two apiece.
"This was pretty fun," Knakal said. "It was fun watching the newer guys get in the pool and get some action."
Hosley led Tigard with three goals. Scott scored twice and Watson and Snyder each had one goal.
Tigard will be back in action on Wednesday, when it plays at Forest Grove in a league game starting at 4:30 p.m. On Monday, the Tigers will be home to face Lakeridge at 5 p.m.
Tualatin will be back in action on Wednesday, when it hosts Lake Oswego in a league contest. On Thursday, the Wolves will be home to face Hillsboro in a 6 p.m. non-league game.
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