Sure, Friday night lights are great. But Saturday nights at the BBMAC pool complex were perhaps even better, and those who were in attendance to Saturday night’s game between the Islanders Boys Water Polo and Vista High School were treated to an absolute thriller.
The Boys Water polo team, who came into Saturday night’s match-up hot having won two of their last three matches, looked to collect their fourth win of the season against the Panthers.
In the first period, the Islanders would set the tone immediately, thanks to an opening goal less than a minute into the game from Thatcher Lytel, with the assist from Anthony Aiello. Coronado would quickly add yet another goal just 44 seconds later when Jack Hilinski would rip the back of the net on a skip shot making it 2-0 Islanders.
After an acrobatic save from Islander goalie Sebastian Palomera on the ensuing Panthers possession, Coronado would tally yet another goal thanks to a point-blank laser from Max Diaz, making it a 3-0 Coronado lead just three minutes into the match.
To attempt to slow the Islander’s momentum Vista would call a timeout. The timeout would be somewhat successful as the Islanders would be held scoreless for the next three minutes. During those three minutes, the Panthers would pick up their first goal of the game to make it 3-1. But the Islanders would almost instantly respond as Hilinski would strike for the second time that night and give the Islanders a 4-1 lead with 1:24 to play in the first period.
Before the Islanders could close out the period, Vista would draw things tighter again as they netted a goal with just 10 seconds left in the period to make it a 4-2 game heading into the second.
At the start of the second period, both teams would exchange goals with Visit first striking of a penalty shot with 5:17 left in the half. But Coronado would respond with yet another goal, this one coming courtesy of Aiello and keeping the Islanders up two goals.
While most of the first half were dominated by offense, for the final four minutes and change of the half, it would be the defense that would flex their muscles. The Islanders would get great efforts from Hilinski, Blake Bergener, and Max Ramey who all did a great job of making life uncomfortable for the Panthers by tipping shot attempts and blocking passing lanes.
Vista would however add one more goal to make it a 5-4 game heading to the third period.
In the third period, Coronado would again come out of the gates firing as they would add two quick goals, one from Diaz and another from Hilinski to complete the hat trick and give Coronado the 7-4 advantage with 3:32 to play in the period.
Vista would again claw back with a goal shortly after to make it a 7-5 game with two minutes to play in the third. Yet Coronado’s offense would not be done in the third just yet as in the final moments of the period both Ramey and Diaz would tack on goals to make it a 9-6 Islander lead heading into the final period of play.
In the fourth period Coronado would again come out with an early goal, thank yet another goal from Diaz to make it a 10-6 game and in some ways make it feel as if the game was out of reach for the Panthers. But that feeling would soon fade, as over the next four minutes Vista would add three goals to make it a 10-9 game. Vista nearly tied the game with two minutes to play, but thanks to a huge save by Palomera, it would remain a one-goal game with just over two minutes to play.
But with under a minute to go Coronado would put the final nail in the Panthers coffin thanks to a laser shot from Luke Machin to make it 11-9 with 22 seconds to play. Vista would add one more goal as time expired, but it would not matter as the Islanders would claim the thriller victory over the Panthers by the score of 11-10.
Now at 4-2, the Islanders will now turn their attention to the Grizzlies of Los Osos High School as the two teams will battle it out at the BBMAC this Thursday, Sept. 23 at 4 p.m.