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SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — If there’s a belief that JSerra’s boys water polo team simply relies on one or two standouts, the Lions buried the theory Wednesday night against visiting Harvard-Westlake.
Orange County’s No. 1-ranked team overcame U.S. national team attacker Ryder Dodd and U.S. junior member Will Schneider both fouling out in the fourth quarter to collect a 9-7 victory against the Wolverines.
JSerra (2-0) entered the final period with a 7-4 lead and didn’t allow the Wolverines (3-1) to came closer than one goal down the stretch.
“Obviously we don’t plan on having Ryder Dodd and Will Schneider on the bench at the end of games,” JSerra coach Brett Ormsby said, “(but) the other guys stepped right in.”
“I thought that was really good for us to be in that position, which is unique,” the coach added. “(Harvard-Westlake) challenged us.”
Senior defender Maddox Arlett helped seal the victory by firing in a cross-cage shot from the right wing for a power-play strike with 59 seconds left in regulation. Sophomore center Tyler Anderson drew an exclusion to set up the chance.
JSerra senior attacker Bode Brinkema also netted a power-play goal earlier in the fourth period.
Lions goalie Joey Kent blocked a penalty shot in the third period that loomed significant in the final frame. The senior finished with eight saves in his highest-profile match with JSerra.
“I’ve worked super hard for two years now, and I feel like it’s all paying off,” said Kent, who split time last season. “We have amazing depth on our team. We have kids who work hard all the time. Bode and Maddox both stepped up huge.”
Harvard-Westlake challenged JSerra early by earning a penalty against Dodd that led to its first of two 5-meter strikes. Alex Heenan scored off a chance drawn by Lucca van der Woude. Dodd still finished with four goals despite fouling out with 6:12 left.
“I’m happy but not even close to content,” Wolverines coach Jack Grover said of his team’s effort. “I don’t think we’re close to the team that we’re going to be and I don’t think JSerra is close to the team they’re going to be either.”
Harvard-Westlake won the junior varsity game 10-8 behind a penalty save by sophomore Nathan You.
The Wolverines takes on another O.C. power on Saturday by playing host to Newport Harbor (2-0) at 3 p.m.
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