Flintridge Prep boys' water polo rallies past Riverside Poly

Water polo: Senior-laden Rebels stay alive with dramatic CIF first-round playoff comeback.

November 13, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, Special to the Valley Sun

RIVERSIDE — Just when it looked like the story on the Flintridge Prep boys' water polo team's season was coming to a close, the Rebels sent in a rewrite.

Down four goals on the road in their CIF Southern Section Division V opener to the Riverside Poly team that ended their 2012 season, the Rebels were on the ropes. They climbed back in it, though, boosted by a third-quarter explosion and nine-goal night from Ethan Vandeventer for an 18-14 victory Wednesday.

Not only was it win-or-go-home, but win-or-goodbye for 10 senior Rebels who will not be back next season. That fact has already given this postseason a different feel than others for Prep.


“It's the feeling that every game is our last game in high school water polo,” said Prep's John Treinen, who finished with a goal, three steals, two field blocks and six assists, “and we really have to do everything in our ability to extend our high school water polo career.”

While there were so many things to credit in the comeback victory, Vandeventer said it all started with Flintridge Prep Coach Dan Hare's speech at halftime.

“'Rarely in life do you get to dictate how the story ends, give me a second half to this story of four years of water polo that you can, win or lose, take yourselves out of the pool and be proud of,'“ said Hare, summarizing his call to action when Prep was down at the break, 10-7. “The blessing and curse of CIF is you can use that as a motivating factor. You lose and it's over, but we live to play another day.”

Flintridge Prep (14-11) will regroup and play host to second-seeded Los Altos Saturday at noon Saturday at Pasadena Poly in the quarterfinals – where the Bears beat the Rebels last year, 17-9.

While Vandeventer had the most goals in the game, the biggest arguably came from Prep's Diego Delgado, who finished with three goals.

With 1:50 to play in the game and Flintridge Prep clinging to a 15-14 advantage, Vandeventer was ejected in a three-player exclusion.

“I wasn't nervous,” Vandeventer said. “I went into that ejection box with a little smile because I knew my team had me. It was a physical game all around and it shows because I was ejected in the fourth, but I have complete faith in this team.”

Said Treinen: “That was even a bigger motivation for us, we needed to finish this game without one of our best players. We took that and we really came out even stronger without him.”

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