PaliHi Water Polo Team Wins Malibu Tournament As a Wedding Gift for Coach

By Sue Pascoe

Palisades High School won the Malibu boys water polo tournament on Saturday by defeating Malibu in the championship game, 8-6, and denying the Sharks their sixth consecutive title.

“Last weekend they took us handily, 13-9,” said Pali’s assistant coach Kirk Lazaruk. “But this time we controlled the game from the beginning.”

To make it to the finals, the Dolphins beat Carpenteria, 14-5, and Pacifica, 20-14,on Thursday in this 12-team tournament. On Saturday, they defeated the Agoura JV team, 8-5, which pitted them against Malibu.

Pali boys won the Malibu high school invitational tournament. They beat Malibu 9-6 in the finals. This breaks Malibu’s 6 year tournament win streak. Photo: Ben Trask

In the championship game, Pali lost a player with a red card in the second quarter. “The rest of the players stepped up,” Lazaruk said. “It was a team victory. We were fantastic today!”

After the first quarter, with a goal by Pali’s Luis Urias, the score was 1-1. During the second quarter, the Dolphins added five goals—two by Sammy Speiser, two by Zach Wunder and one by Zeke Ramirez to take a 6-1 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Maximo Speiser scored twice, and in the fourth quarter Ramirez added his second goal.

Pali Goalie Michail Melnik made six saves.

Lazaruk said the Carpenteria coach paid the team a huge compliment, saying “I never saw a team do as many picks as you guys do.” Lazaruk explained that a “pick” means running plays that create space and opportunities.

“I’m really proud of these boys,” he said, noting they had called head coach Adam Blakis, who is on his honeymoon.

“We told him the whole team chipped in and won the tournament as a wedding gift for him,” Lazaruk said.

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