Jack Mallery assumed a leadership role for the Gunn boys water polo team this season. In the Titans' SCVAL De Anza Division opener Tuesday, he led by example.
Mallery scored five goals, including three consecutive that spanned the third and fourth quarters to help the defending league champion Gunn down visiting Lynbrook 10-7.
"We didn't dominate the game like we wanted but it was good to have a close game to really shake us up," Mallery said.
Gunn opened the game like it was going to run away with it, scoring three goals, by Young Lee, Aaron Babian and Mallery, in the first three minutes. After Lynbrook converted a penalty shot, Mallery added another goal before the first period ended.
The Titans (2-0, 1-0) didn't score again until after Lynbrook tied the game at 4-all two minutes into the third period.
"We still have a lot of work to do," Gunn's first-year coach Peter Olson said. "That was not our best effort. We had a lot of missed opportunities both offensively and defensively early."
The tying goal seemed to spark something in the Titans, who proceeded to scores on their next two possessions and ultimately took a 9-5 lead midway through the final period.
"I thought it was time to put everything I possibly could into winning the game," Mallery said.
Devon Singh netted the go-ahead score and Mallery went on his three-goal run. Babian made it 9-5 and clinched the victory with a final goal in the final minute.
"When they play well, things work for us," Olson said of Mallery and Babian, both returning all-league performers. "We rely on those guys as leaders, emotionally and vocally in the pool."
Goalie Adrian Lee spent last year as the backup, bidding his time. He came up with several big saves against the Vikings.
"Adrian is a fantastic athlete," Olson said. "He's a high-level badminton player. That quickness helps him in the pool."
Lee, with teammate Rasmus Janmyr, reached the championship match of the CCS boys' doubles badminton competition. The duo placed fourth at the Northern California tournament.
Olson has been a varsity assistant and JV coach at Gunn for several years and coached the Stanford water polo club 12U boys team at the Junior Olympics over the summer.