A young, fired-up Metea Valley boys water polo squad started fast Thursday night and threw a scare into visiting Andrew.
But the more experienced Thunderbolts broke away from a 6-5 halftime lead to knock off the host Mustangs 13-7. Metea Valley (2-10) had its moments for sure, but Andrew's strength and experience proved too tough to contain and also showed the upstart program what it needs to work on most.
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Senior Alex Vass rifled home the first of his 4 goals on Metea's first possession of night and Vass' 3 first-quarter scores had the home team on top 3-2 after seven minutes of play. But Andrew (4-1) moved ahead 6-5 at the break thanks in large part to a pair of goals by Andrew Wojdyla, who had 3 scores on the night.
The Thunderbolts, coached by Metea Valley assistant swimming coach Krzysztof Kowal, then flexed some muscle with a 5-goal third quarter highlighted by three strikes from Alex Batuello.
"I think in the third quarter if it's close we tend to lose our head. The excitement gets to us," said Metea Valley freshman Steven Baro, who had 3 goals to give him 15 on the season. "We got tired some in the second half, but mostly we need more experience."
Baro is just one of 14 freshmen on the Mustangs young varsity squad, but a pair of seniors in Alex Vass and Alex Gidlow have supplied some needed leadership this spring. With his 4 goals Vass leads the team with 31 this season, while Gidlow is a strong swimmer who does a little of everything in the pool.
"Andrew has a lot of talent and it's kind of hard for us to stack up with them," Gidlow said. "We played an awesome first half, but the thing about varsity is you have to play four quarters. We slowed down in the second half and you can't do that."
But there were plenty of positives for the young Mustangs. Baro's long rocket into the Thunderbolts net with 6:34 left to play marked the first goal allowed by Andrew in the fourth quarter this season. The team's passing was sharp at times and goalie Harry Tong turned aside a number of tough shots while keeping his team close.
"We're a lot better than we were a week ago," Gidlow said. "We have a lot of young talent and I'm excited to see how far we'll come by the end of the season."