HS Water Polo: Temescal Canyon Clinches their 8th Straight Sunbelt League Championship

The Titans have Dominated the Sunbelt Since Joining the League in 2010

By Lynn Johnson

Temescal Canyon Water Polo entered the Sunbelt League in 2010, and has since won every league game. This year marks the final year of the Sunbelt League as we know it and major changes will impact the league.

Temescal Canyon clinched their 8th straight league championship last Wednesday with their victory over the Elsinore Tigers, 14-8. Temescal Canyon Coach Kevin Smith, who took over the reigns from Damien Andrews in 2016, has kept the winning tradition going.

“I believe that our ability to win league starts with our work ethic from the beginning of the year” said Smith. “Our team trains hard all year for moments like tonight. Each year is a new team, and they feel likes it’s their duty to keep the undefeated league championship going, and every time they put the work in to obtain that goal.”

Captains Cooper Smith and Nick Johnson have been a part of 4 league championship teams with the Titans. Both seniors knew the program already had a four-year hold on the league title when they came in as freshman and felt a duty to keep that legacy alive.“I came into this program with 4 years already as undefeated champs and I knew that I wanted to continue it throughout my 4 years” said Johnson. “I am glad I had a great team to finish it off with.”

Temescal Canyon is currently ranked 3rd in the CIF Southern Section Division 5, with an overall record of 17-11. They begin the 2017 Championship Playoffs next Thursday. “We have the talent to win it all, but we must take it one step, one quarter, and one game at a time” said a very confident Coach Smith.

Elsinore was 6-1 coming into the game. A victory would tie them with The Titans for the Championship. The Tigers jumped out to an early lead as James Barrios came out and score first. Upset was on the Tigers minds. It was not to be.

Cooper Smith quickly answered. Elsinore would come within 2, but never led after the 1st goal. The Titans finished the first period leading 4-2 and it was 7-3 at half. Elsinore scored 5 goals in the third quarter to make it 11-8. The Titans defense held Elsinore scoreless in the 4th for the victory.

Nick Johnson and Chase Cordon each score 4 goals for Temescal Canyon. Cooper Smith and Conner Strable would add 2 goals apiece. JP Mallari and Hayden Rowe each put one in the net for the Titans, Goalkeeper Noah Chaves had 11 saves & 2 assists in the Net.

James Barrios would score 4 goals in the losing effort for Elsinore. Juan Sosa scored 2 goals and Justin Carroll and Parker Wales scored one each for the Tigers.

Temescal Canyon has a bye in round one of the CIF Division 5 Playoffs. The Titans will be playing in round two of on Thursday.

Photos by Laura Jannuzzi & Emily Coleman