Boys Water Polo: Eagles give Spartans, ESL added competition this season


Moses Bower continues to average five goals a game in loss to Bakersfield Christian

By Patrick Dillon

STRATHMORE — The Spartans’ reign as one of the top teams in the East Sequoia League is over. The defending champions fell victim to an unforeseen foe in the Bakersfield Christian Eagles 15-8 on Wednesday, Oct. 17. The Eagles wrapped up at least a share of the title with the win.

“We are still a team that is right with Bakersfield Christian,” Strathmore head coach Tim Stadtherr said.

It was the second quarter that did the Spartans in. Tied at the beginning 3-3 they gave up three unanswered goals because of rebounds and counter attackers. In fact, Bakersfield (8-3, 7-0) had three chances to score the goal which put them out in front for good 4-3. Defensive miscues on the Spartans (15-9, 4-2) played a part in Bakersfield players being left wide open.

“We were pretty much down three the entire game from that point on and we were never able to put a chink in that armor,” Stadtherr said.

Strathmore did close it to only a two-goal deficit a couple times, including going into halftime down 8-6. That was the last time they would be that close as Bakersfield once again scored three unanswered goals to go up 11-6 less than a minute into the third quarter. From that point on it seemed every shot the Eagles put on goal went in the net.

Not even the Spartans’ all-time leading goal scorer, Moses Bower, could turn the tide in the contest. Bower finished the night with five goals which brought his season total to 117. Having such a dominate player will prove useful going into the postseason, but the Spartans at times have relied on their senior leader too much. At the end of the third quarter of this night the Spartans had their best counter attack. A pass went to Bower in the middle, but a double team did not give him a clean shot and forced him to pass the ball out.

Owen Patterson was wide open at the five-meter mark but hesitated and seemed to look to make another pass back to Bower for him to take the shot. An Eagle defender than swam in and stole the ball away thus ending the quarter 12-9 Bakersfield Christian.

If there is a silver lining for the Spartans taking second in the ESL this season it is the league has prepared them for the D-III playoffs as best as it has in years. In prior yeears two teams, the Spartans, and the Sierra Pacific Golden Bears, had alternated titles. Yet, with the emergence of the Eagles, the ESL can now make an argument to be a power house.

“This year it has shown us it is one of the tougher ones in the division three level,” Stadtherr said.

Strathmore has two more games remaining in the regular season. Last night they played the Granite Hills Grizzlies. The final happened after press time. Tonight, Strathmore will end the season with a road trip to Tulare to play the Mission Oak Hawks at 5:30 p.m.

The Spartans will try to earn a high enough seed in the D-III playoffs after the Bakersfield Christian Eagles seemingly already wrapped up the number two seed after their win last Wednesday.

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