Aragon boys’ water polo head coach Carly DeMarchena said there is one goal for the Dons this season: make the Central Coast Section playoffs — something the Dons haven’t accomplished since 2007.
If they can challenge for a Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division title in the process, well that’s just icing on the cake.
Before Aragon can get to the playoffs, however, there is a league season to be played and so far, the Dons are just one of two teams that remain undefeated in the Bay Division after they beat Carlmont 10-6 in San Mateo Wednesday.
Menlo-Atherton, which knocked off previously unbeaten Woodside Monday, is tied with the Dons atop the Bay Division standings.
“I would be happy with CCS this year,” DeMarchena said. “(But) I’d love an upset of M-A or Woodside. … I think we’re in a much better situation this fall than we were in the spring (of challenging for a division championship).”
Aragon (3-0 PAL Bay) showed that when it has its starters in, it can be formidable as the Dons’ starting six outscored the Scots 9-1. Against the Dons’ second-string? Carlmont outscored Aragon 5-1.
But when the Dons were on, they were very good against a Carlmont squad still searching for its first Bay Division victory.
It took a few minutes for the Dons to find their rhythm in the opening period and Carlmont took advantage, taking a 1-0 lead on a Alexey Krytsyn power-play goal, off an assist from Derrick Chan, that gave the Scots their only lead two minutes into the match.
Aragon found its footing shortly after that and took control of the game. The Dons tied the game on an Evan Molloy goal in the hole set, off an assist from Ryan Vattuone, who set up on the right wing and found Molloy on a drive on goal.
Xavier McKenzie gave Aragon the lead for good with a cheeky goal with 2:40 left in the opening period. With the ball on the left wing, McKenzie walked in on goal, despite the efforts of the Carlmont defender.
In front of the goal, McKenzie flipped a shot around the Carlmont goalie, swam around the defense, picked up the loose ball and put it in back of the net for a 2-1 Aragon lead.
Ethan Xie scored the Dons’ third unanswered goal with just under two minutes to play and Arman Zahabi made it a four-goal quarter for the Dons who led 4-1 going into the second.
“Overall, I was happy with the first quarter. That’s something we’ve been working on,” DeMarchena said. “Then we got a little too full of ourselves.”
In the second period, with DeMarchena mixing and matching starters and subs, Carlmont took advantage. After Molloy opened the scoring for Aragon, latching onto a Carlmont turnover at midpool and driving on goal for a 5-1 Dons’ lead, the Scots came back with three unanswered goals of their own, two of which came with the man advantage.
Dylan Lobo scored from the right wing a man up to cut the Aragon lead to 5-2, followed by 5-meter penalty goal from Owen Finigan. When the Scots scored with under a minute to play in the second period, they trailed just 5-4 at the break.
“We have to figure out our kick-out situation,” DeMarchena said. “I think the kick-outs really rattled us. It took us a while to adjust to what the refs were calling.”
In the third period, Aragon re-established itself, outscoring the Scots 5-0. Xie’s goal 40 seconds into the second half gave the Dons a little more breathing room, 6-4. Xie followed up that goal by slamming home a shot from the perimeter for a 7-4 Dons’ advantage.
And then McKenzie brought down the house with a brilliant individual effort. He took a pass along with right sideline and carried the ball toward the goal. About five meters out, McKenzie was greeted by a pair of Carlmont defenders. McKenzie looked them off, faking a pass, before raising the ball over his head, spinning between the two defenders and was in on goal. With a pair of defenders giving chase and the Scots goalie looming, McKenzie calmly put his shot away for an 8-4 Dons lead.
Xie and Nico Paoli rounded out the scoring for Aragon, giving the Dons a 10-4 lead going into the final period.
Again, with a mixture of starters and substitutes, the Dons struggled to find a rhythm over the final seven minutes as they went scoreless in the fourth.
Lucas Calenda and Chan each scored for the Scots in the final quarter.