Arroyo Grande High School water polo’s Chase Taylor might have suffered from a slight case of senioritis early this season. But in the past few weeks, he appears to have found a cure.
“I just realized it was my senior year, so I better go hard at it,” Taylor said.
The powerful lefty has turned it up when it matters most, scoring 15 goals in the last four games including a four-goal, three-assist performance against San Luis Obispo on Tuesday in a 15-9 win for Arroyo Grande (17-5 overall, 4-1 PAC 8).
“He just realized he can do whatever he wants,” Arroyo Grande head coach Steven Allen said.
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Allen said he started to see a shift in Taylor’s game last weekend at the South Bay Tournament in Southern California. Taylor had six goals in a win over South Pasadena and five goals in a miraculous come-from-behind win against Coast Mesa after being down 10-5 in the fourth quarter. He added four more goals in a 12-11 overtime win against Palisades.
“It was pretty freaking cool,” Taylor said of the tournament. “It was just really good for the team. Good momentum for going into league finals.”
Taylor may have the hot hand, but he’s got plenty of help. Allen said this year’s team is one of the deepest he’s had during his long run with the water polo program. Sometimes, 11 players will see pool time.
“It’s important because when the starters are getting tired, it’s awesome to have a team to rely on,” Taylor said. “We just put them in, and we know that they are not going to stop. They are going to keep going.”
Freshman center Shane Hoover has been seeing playing time, and senior Bear Waymire and junior Braden Taylor provide additional offensive fire power. In goal, Allen has the luxury of two solid keepers — Ethan Makins and Jared Martin — who split time between the pipes.
Arroyo Grande has two games remaining on its schedule before the PAC 8 tournament begins Nov. 1. Taylor has his eye on the perennial powerhouse and reigning champions Righetti. Arroyo Grande has finished behind Righetti in the PAC 8 the past few seasons and lost to the Warriors 13-8 in September.
Taylor can’t wait till they meet again.
“We are ready to face Righetti,” he said.