The Temescal Canyon High School boys varsity water polo team achieved the ultimate goal for the first time in the school’s history and are the 2017 CIF Southern Section Division 5 champions. They have sent teams to CIF championships in 2011, 2012 and 2015 and were unsuccessful each time. Many claim the third time is the charm, but the for the Titans, their lucky number must be four.
The Titans had an overall record of 21-11 and for the eighth year in a row were undefeated in the Sunbelt League. Of the 15-man roster, nine of the players are from Canyon Lake. Canyon Laker’s Hayden Rowe and Cooper Smith got their introduction to water polo with lessons at Canyon Lake’s pool.
The mighty Titans rolled into to CIF ranked third in the Southern Section and were awarded a bye in the first round. In the second round, the Titans traveled to Huntington Beach and faced the Ocean View Seahawks. The Titans ended the Seahawks season with a 20-12 victory. Both Chase Gordon and Hayden had standout performances. Hayden’s best play of the game was his helicopter goal.
In the Quarter Finals, the Titans defeated the Upland Highlanders 11-5. Connor Strable played a flawless game scoring three goals. Cooper was equally impressive with two great shots. He also set up his team to score by drawing players to the outside.
The Titans sent the Rio Mesa Spartans packing with a 13-10 victory. Guard Nick Johnson was incredible scoring seven goals. Nick’s performance would be the key in the championship game.
The Titans squared off against the Don Lugo Conquistadores in the championship game. The Titan fans base made the trek to Irvine in droves to support the team. Titan fans easily controlled 75 percent of the stands. The Titans knew Don Lugo would double team big shooters Nick and Connor. The double teams left Paolo Melendez wide open on the 4-5 side. Paolo took advantage of this scoring a season-high four goals. Goalie Noah Chavez also had standout performance blocking 12 shots. The Titans never trailed in the game and took a 10-7 victory to seal their championship season.
The Titans celebrated by pushing head coach Kevin Smith and assistant coaches Mark Kuhn and Karynne Ryan into the pool.