The first day of practice, coach Johnny Bega set a lofty goal for his Los Altos High boys water polo team: the Central Coast Section final. Needing one more win to make it, the Eagles last week encountered a talented team with ambitious playoff plans of its own.
Menlo School routed Los Altos 18-6 in the CCS Division II semifinals Nov. 16 at Lynbrook.
Bega said the loss “was a tough one to take. We did not play nearly our best and allowed Menlo to take advantage of the game.”
The third-seeded Eagles (21-7) trailed 5-1 after the initial quarter and 11-3 at halftime.
“Our defense did not come to play,” Bega said.
Menlo’s did. The second-seeded Knights (17-9) refused to let Los Altos standout Colin Mulcahy beat them, double- and triple-teaming the senior from the start.
“They were not allowing him to get free at all, and the rest of our team did not come through for us offensively,” Bega said.
Mulcahy, who led his league in scoring, was held to two goals. No other Eagle scored more than one.
LA girls edged in semis
The second-seeded Los Altos High girls jumped to an early lead but couldn’t hold on to it in their CCS Division II semifinal. No. 3 Castilleja rallied for a 5-4 win Nov. 17 at Lynbrook.
The Eagles led 3-0 after the first quarter, with two of the goals coming from junior Katy Schaefer. Castilleja cut the deficit to 4-3 by halftime and outscored Los Altos 2-0 the rest of the way.
The Eagles (19-7) had their chances in the fourth, which began with Castilleja (17-9) up one.
“We had a man-up opportunity that we threw away and also drew a 5-meter penalty shot that I have to take my hat off to the Castilleja goalie for blocking and keeping them in the game,” Los Altos coach Brian Whitlock said. “We must have outshot them three to one, but we kept hitting the bar.”
Schaefer finished with three goals for the Eagles and Carrie Beyer had the other. KK Sandlin – Los Altos’ leading scorer for the season – did not score, but her role “was to shut down (Castilleja’s) primary player,” Whitlock said.