By GERARDO RECINOS
Alhambra’s boys water polo opened up their Diablo Athletic League campaign with an explosive win on Sept. 14, by thrashing an upstart St. Patrick-St. Vincent-Vallejo team on the road.
While they may not be so happy with how many goals the allowed, there is no doubt that a 23-14 win will still leave some smiling faces on both the players and coaching staff.
Both teams wanted to score early and often, that much was clear. And Alhambra’s leading scorers were up to the task. Dylan Hammond and Nico Taliaferro opened up the scoring for Alhambra. Hammond dished off a pass for Taliaferro’s goal, while Adam Pakman assisted his from a long outlet pass by the goalkeeper.
Before you could blink, there were seven Alhambra goals on the board. Six of them coming from the aforementioned combination of Taliaferro and Hammond, with Tony Moore chipping one in from a near post shot fired home.
Before three minutes had passed in the second quarter of play, the Bulldogs had already struck four times. Luke Brown set up Hammond on a slick set of passes that started from the goalkeeper Pakman,
It was as if you were watching a game from last season between the Bulldogs on perennial North Coast Section power Miramonte. One team was in better condition, and that allowed them to score counter attack goals and use the small pool to their advantage.
More goals came and in bunches. Counting them would’ve become difficult. They were like blurs. But the one thing that made them distinctive is that they all came from high-percentage shots. That meaning the Bulldogs worked good shots by passing to the open man, making smart decisions.
On one opportunity a player had a decent look from the right wing, but elected to fake a shot, make a pass to a teammate with a better view, who in turn laid off a ball to a player alone at the back post. The extra pass allowed them to nearly passed the ball across the net. No one could’ve missed that empty of a net.
Before halftime was even reached the Bulldogs had already notched a sizable goal-scoring output. Moore made it 14 goals on a counter-attack goal started from Pakman between the sticks. On top of becoming a provider in attack, Pakman was also coming off his line to clear long counter-attack attempts from the Bruins that he could’ve played at the five-meter line.
The second half brought more of the same for the Bulldogs. Seemingly everyone in blue got a chance to take a shot on goal. Justin Davis and Aaron Sullivan both got goals off the bench, with only the goalkeeper not getting a serious look on frame.
With the win the Bulldog boys will have a solid week off from games before they take on Concord on Wednesday, Sept. 21. That match up comes before a week where they face off on the road against Dougherty Valley, and then College Park the very next day on Sept. 28.