They. Were. Dead. In. The. Water. (Literally)
There they were, the Beckman boys water polo team, facing a humiliating loss in their own pool to archrival Northwood – on Senior Day no less! This Beckman team was already having a rough week with home losses to CDM and Woodbridge and here was their third very significant game in four days, staring at an improbable 8-3 deficit entering the fourth period.
But on Senior Day, they had a senior moment. Many of them, in fact. With a huge and raucous home crowd cheering them on (excellent turnout by the student body!) – Beckman chipped and clawed away at what seemed to be a very insurmountable lead – forcing turnovers, and suddenly the goals started going in. Within a span of 6:38 that lead totally evaporated. And one of the most epic, if not the most epic, of all Beckman water polo comebacks was born.
Senior Aviv Zohman cut the deficit to 8-5 with two goals three minutes apart, both from five meters out, and then Senior Chase Himler scored with 2:06 left in the fourth from five meters and suddenly – the Patriots were back in it! With the crowd getting louder and louder and the action more and more intense (many turnovers on both sides), Himler scored again with 17 seconds left from at least nine meters out, drilling a beautiful corner shot and there was a glimmer of hope left for the Patriots.
Northwood took a timeout to plot out their final seconds and as soon as the whistle blew, the Patriots put on a full court press, forcing the Timberwolves to make an errant pass towards the Beckman goal. Senior goalie Matt Tran and Himler both converged, forcing a turnover with only seconds left in the game. With the ball nearly in the Beckman goal, Himler quickly snatched it up and saw Senior Travis Ruoff all alone and five meters out in front of the Northwood goal, hitting him with a perfect strike. Those next seconds seemed like minutes, as Ruoff juked Northwood goalie Leon Shi several times before burying his cross-cage shot with 0:00 on the clock. And the Beckman crowd erupted while the Northwood contingent sat stunned over this incredible turn of events. This was headed into OT!
The first overtime period was scoreless with Senior goalie Matt Tran making the most important of his eight saves and unbelievably, Beckman was headed into their third double OT game of the season! The first minute of the second OT period saw even more physical play, and Beckman got the ball back with 2:08 left on a costly ejection by Northwood. Beckman head Coach Duje Grubisic called a timeout to set up the Patriots’ 6 on 5 attack. The Patriots worked the ball around and almost threw the ball away but Zohman retrieved it and hit Sophmore AJ Marsh on the left side with time running out in the possession, and he nailed a corner shot with 1:45 left for what would be the winning goal. Beckman’s press held the rest of the way and the game ended – the fans, coaches and players all delirious over what had just ensued.
For Beckman offensively, Himler had three goals (and added four assists), Zohman and Sophmore Eli Schwarz had two goals each. Ruoff had the game-tying goal, and Marsh had the game-winning goal to round out the scoring. Defensively, Tran had eight saves and an amazing eleven steals in goal for the Patriots.
Next up: The Patriots play Friday-Saturday in the Steve Pal Memorial Tournament before the final week of the regular season.