Randy Angel

Young Mira Costa water polo team gaining experience

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Mira Costa’s Clay Allen blocks a shot attempt by Palos Verdes’ David Feingold in the Mustangs 9-7 win against their Bay League rivals. Photo by Ray Vidal

Mira Costa’s Clay Allen blocks a shot attempt by Palos Verdes’ David Feingold in the Mustangs 9-7 win against their Bay League rivals. Photo by Ray Vidal

By Randy Angel

For years, Mira Costa’s boys water polo team has been among the top programs in its division, but the Mustangs will have their work cut out for them this season after moving up to Division 1 in the CIF-Southern Section.

In a rebuilding year, Coach Jon Reichardt’s squad got off to a quick start this season including a key 9-7 victory against Bay League rival Palos Verdes, the No. 7 ranked team in Division 2.

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Chris Agliozzo’s power-play goal with 1:17 left gave Mira Costa a 9-7 lead. It was his fifth goal of the game while Christian Thornton added four goals for the win.

Mira Costa's Christian Thornton scores one of his four goals against Bay League rival Palos Verdes. Photo by Ray Vidal

Mira Costa’s Christian Thornton scores one of his four goals against Bay League rival Palos Verdes. Photo by Ray Vidal

“The win against PV was good, but since we are all in different division now, the game didn’t have the importance as in past seasons,” Reichardt said.

Competing in the America’s Finest City tournament in San Diego last weekend, Mira Costa finished in 8th place out of 32 teams but gained valuable experience in the process.

“We did alright and played some good games but the best thing was we played a lot of players,” Reichardt said. “We have a young, inexperienced team and we need people to get as much play time as possible. We have some good senior leaders in Christian Thornton, Garrett Weatherly and Lucas Brannan as well as ton of younger guys that are all contributing.”

Clay Allen and Agliozzo play major roles for Mira Costa while three goaltenders – Jere Ashby, Quincy Lamberg and Paul Matt – have been sharing time in the net.

Mira Costa started out strong in the tournament, defeating Eastlake 16-2 and Bonita 12-5 on Friday but Saturday’s competition proved much tougher.

The Mustangs fell to Buchanan 8-6, Carlsbad 6-3 and Damien 11-8 in the 7th-place game.

Mira Costa played West Torrance on Monday and will host Foothill (No. 6, Div. 1) Friday at 3 p.m. followed by a game at rival Redondo Thursday, Oct. 6.

Redondo finished 20th in the AFC tournament but dropped its first game to Los Osos 15-7. The Sea Hawks rebounded to beat Fallbrook 14-5 and Grossmont 9-8 before losing close contests to Poway 8-7 and ML King 10-9.

Coach Chris Murin’s Sea Hawk squad is led by Matt Thorne, Seth Ulrich, Blake Vogelsand and Alex Wrightsman and is competing in CIF-SS Division 4 this season.

Redondo hosts Palos Verdes on Tuesday at 3 p.m. before its rivalry game with Mira Costa next Thursday.

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