Really it was almost a foregone conclusion, but Sacred Heart Prep made what everybody was expecting come true with an 8-5 win over Menlo School in the inaugural Central Coast Section Open Division boys water polo championship match Saturday at Independence High.
“This has kind of been our goal all season,’’ SHP coach Brian Kreutzkamp said. “It’s been a remarkable season, we’re in the top two or three teams in the state. But most important was to win the first Open championship.’’
It was Sacred Heart Prep’s seventh CCS title in a row overall. Kreutzkamp has had a steady stream of talent-laden teams. He was asked if this team might stake a claim to being his best.
“They’re in the conversation,’’ Kreutzkamp said. “In the top three for sure. We have so many seniors and so much balance.’’
Sacred Heart Prep (24-4) jumped out to a 3-0 lead and were never headed. Menlo drew to within 3-2 after a goal by Miller Geschke early in the second quarter, but the Gators scored the final three goals of the quarter on shots by Michael Sonsini, Andrew Churukian and Alex Tsotadze to go up 6-2 at halftime.
“They’re good,’’ Menlo coach Jack Bowen said. “They’re top five in the United States. I’d put us in the top 15.’’
It was 8-3 after three quarters. The Gators played a defensive style in the fourth quarter. Menlo got goals from Geschke and Maxwell Patterson to make it 8-5, but that was as close as it would get.
Tsotadze, Sonsini and Churukian had two goals apiece for Sacred Heart Prep. Geschke led Menlo (20-7) with three goals. Patterson scored the other two.
“Holding that Menlo team to five goals makes it tough to beat us,’’ Kreutzkamp said.
Gunn, making its first appearance in a CCS final since 2004, dropped a 6-3 decision to Leland.
The Titans never got into a flow offensively, trailing 4-1 after one quarter, 5-3 at halftime and then was held scoreless in the second half when they needed to make a comeback.
“Credit to Leland’s defense,’’ Gunn coach Peter Olson said. “They came out with a good defensive strategy to keep the ball away from our two top scorers (Aaron Babian and Jack Mallery). We played two great games in the quarterfinals and semifinals to get here. We would’ve like a different outcome, but such is the nature of competitive sports.’’
Mallery scored Gunn’s goal in the first quarter and added another in the second quarter. Trevor Jones scored 13 seconds before halftime to bring Gunn within 5-3.