Bears Narrowly Defeat St. Francis in Semi-Final CCS Match

Bruce Deal

Senior Harrison Holland-McCowan contributed several impressive goals to the Bears semi-final victory over St. Francis

With an outstanding performance from the Bears’ boys’ water polo team, M-A pulled off an upset in the semifinal match of CCS against #2 seed, St. Francis, finishing the game 11-10 and clinching a spot in the championship match.

The Lancers established themselves quickly in the first quarter, claiming the first possession and scoring the first goal of the game. The Bears bounced back quickly with a goal from junior Evan McClelland one minute into the period.

St. Francis pulled ahead 1 minute later, but once again McClelland tied it up without delay. Senior Harrison Holland-McCowan put the Bears into the lead 2 minutes later, then strengthened their dominance with another goal from an assist from their goalie, junior Peter Berquist.

Though the Bears held a narrow lead through the rest of the game, the Lancers managed to match, if not exceed, their number of shots on goal. It was the Bears’ ability to capitalize on St. Francis’ errors, and counter with a strong offensive strategy and impressive shooting skill that ultimately kept them ahead.

A perfect lob by sophomore John Knox, and a powerful skip-shot by Holland-McCowan illustrated the level of skilled offense the Bears have developed over the season, as the Lancers’ defense was unable to their stop strategically placed shots. The Bears did not leave their shots to chance; they fired them with 100 percent certainty they would reach the back of the cage.

However, some defensive errors by Bears allowed St. Francis two lucky shots before the half, leaving the Bears with only a narrow 1-point lead going into the third quarter.

Enduring strength by Berquist and 2 blocks by McClelland in the 3rd quarter minimized the Lancers’ scoring opportunities. Additionally, though powerful, St. Francis struggled in their shooting accuracy, and thus only allotted themselves one goal during the quarter.

Conversely, the Bears continued with their strong offensive strategy and accurate shots. After claiming the first possession of the 4th quarter, junior Jake Bassin assissted senior Morgan Olson-Fabbro on a quick goal, establishing the Bears’ supremacy going into the quarter.

Holland-McCowan remained strong as well, with a well-placed lob from outside the 5 meter, as well as a double-teamed blind goal off an assist from Olson-Fabbro.

Tight defense by the Lancers in the fourth quarter narrowed the 11-7 deficit, as they were able to capitalize on a small drop in the Bears’ play.

Ejections and poor passing by the Bears allowed the Lancers several steals, and ultimately 3 more goals.

However, the Bears were still able to hold on to the victory, keeping the ball away from the Lancers in their final possession, and prevented the game from entering overtime.

All-in-all the Bears played an impressive all around game, with noteworthy shots by both McClelland and Holland-McCowan that made their semi-final victory well deserved. The team plays tomorrow against Bellarmine for the CCS championship at 2:30 in Santa Clara.

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