By Noah Glosson, Sports Editor
// One Down, two to go. The men’s water polo team are now one step closer to attaining a North Coast Section (NCS) Championship.
Despite a sluggish first half, the one-seed Dons rallied late against the eight-seed Redwood of Larkspur en route to a 14-11 victory.
In the first quarter, Acalanes came out hot off the first sprint. Junior Peter Archer notched a goal 66 seconds in followed by senior Charlie Bettencourt scoring one minute later.
Forty-one seconds later, senior Mac Darin fired a laser past the keeper while Bettencourt and junior Jay Mills scored again thereafter.
Redwood quickly responded with a pair of goals to cut the lead at the end of the first period, 5-2.
In the second period, both teams traded off goals as the score stood at 7-4 with 4:37 remaining in the half.
Out of nowhere, the Giants netted three consecutive goals, tying the game at seven apiece.
The Dons responded quickly with goals from Darin and Mills to give the team some breathing room. Redwood scored once more and Acalanes led 9-8 at the half.
In a defensive third period, the Dons and Giants were locked in a 10-10 tie. Mac Darin scored on a rocket penalty shot to give Acalanes an upper edge at the end of three periods, 11-10.
Redwood tied the game again early in the fourth until the Dons finally broke away.
Darin scored his sixth goal with five minutes remaining and sophomore Will Stryker tallied a pair of goals midway through the fourth period.
Led by junior goalkeeper Parker Tompkins, the stellar defense stifled a punishing Redwood offense and Acalanes emerged victorious by a score of 14-11.
“In the second half, we really came together and played defense and worked well as a team,” Mills said.
Mills scored two goals on the night with Bettencourt chipping in three.
Acalanes will host the four-seed Tamalpais Red-Tailed Hawks on Wednesday, Nov. 13. The Dons defeated Tamalpais early in the season by a score of 15-3.
Despite their previous success, Acalanes must remain prepared for all possibilities.
“Every team is different when you play them again,” senior Mike Winther said.
According to Mills, the team got through its biggest test of the playoffs, but they must remain stout and vigilant.
“The next games aren’t going to be easy so we need to keep up the momentum, keep fighting, and hopefully win the championship,”Mills said.