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ANAHEIM — Beckman’s lofty aspirations for the upcoming Pacific Coast League boys water polo season showed a bit more buoyancy Tuesday night at Servite.
The Patriots could be tough to sink in one of the most entertaining races in Orange County aquatics.
Senior center Zane Warren scored a match-high five goals off the bench, and senior attacker Zander Huynh and sophomore center Parsa Tamadon each added four apiece, as Division 2 Beckman used a strong second-half surge to defeat the Division 1 Friars 18-13 in a nonleague match.
In its first game since the South Coast Tournament on Sept 16, Beckman (7-7) played “sloppy” and “rusty” by first-year coach Tijmen Egtberts’ evaluation but still displayed physicality at center and speed on the counterattack.
Beckman scored the first four goals of the third period to snap a 7-7 deadlock at half.
“Our goal has been from the start of the season, if we get (at least) fourth in our league, we make CIF (as an automatic qualifier),” Egtberts said. “The league is tough. … Anybody can beat anybody in (our) league. This year, Portola and Irvine are the favorites going into the season and I think we’re kind of shocking everybody how well we’re playing.”
Beckman, ranked fifth in Division 2, opens league at No. 7 Northwood on Thursday.
Huynh said the Patriots have come together under Egtberts, the Patriot Aquatics club coach who guided the Irvine boys to the Division 3 semifinals last fall. Irvine fell to Portola 13-12 in one of the best matches of the postseason.
“He likes organized play, and I personally like that, too,” Huynh said of Egtberts. “We all have our roles.”
Huynh, Beckman’s program captain, chipped in three assists while senior Sean Arata added three goals in the fourth period.
Warren agreed with his coach’s assessment of the eight-team Pacific Coast League.
“It’s very competitive,” he said. “A lot of other leagues you see … it’s not a battle when it comes to league finals. For us, every team in our league has the opportunity to come out on top.”
Servite (6-8), coming off an eighth-place finish at the Villa Park Classic on Saturday, dropped two game below .500, a mark the Friars could need to reach to earn an at-large berth for the Division 1 playoffs. They’re part of the challenging Trinity League and return just two starters from its county-ranked team last season.
“We’re right there,” Servite coach Andy Coffman said of his team’s playoff chances. “Everyone is doing a good job. We’re just not that deep.”
Senior center Lucas Rodriguez scored four goals and drew a penalty to lead Servite. The Friars also received nine saves from freshman goalie Shane Wendler who dueled Beckman sophomore backup Arush Gautama (eight saves, including a penalty) in his first varsity match.
Seniors Kai Baker and Saul Mendoza, and emerging sophomores Declan Murphy and Ivan Cardenas, each scored twice for Servite, which plays at Mater Dei on Thursday.
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