The Righetti boys water polo team used relentless defensive pressure and pinpoint passing Thursday night to defeat Arroyo Grande and win the PAC 7 tournament in impressive fashion.
Righetti’s Andrew Rivera scored four goals, all in the first two quarters, and the Warriors beat the Eagles 13-3 to remain undefeated.
“Our defense was consistent throughout and Austin Nims did a good job inside early and really shut them down and it fed our transition offense,” Righetti coach Kyle Shaffer said.
Arroyo Grande was held scoreless until Josh Jewell scored with just under six minutes to play in the third period. Arroyo Grande was able to outscore Righetti 3-2 in the third to make it 9-3, but the Warriors scored four unanswered goals in the final period to close out the match.
“They got rolling big time in that first half,” Arroyo Grande coach Steven Allen said of the 8-0 run to open the match. “They got to show why they are the number one team in the division.”
“Our hats off to Righetti, they played well.”
On Tuesday Righetti defeated Paso Robles (22-3) and Atascadero to secure a spot in the finals. The Warriors finished the regular season with a 17-3 overall record, 8-0 in the PAC 7.
“They are a tough team and we prepared for them and they just came out intense and it was hard to match that intensity coming straight out of the gate,” said Arroyo Grande senior Josh Jewell, who scored two goals in the match.
Arroyo Grande (16-11, 6-2 PAC 7) expects to have a relatively high seed when the playoff brackets are released, but Allen said his team needs to focus on passing the ball better if it wants to make a deep run in the playoffs.
“We had a rough day passing today and it really allowed them to do what they do best, which is counterattack,” Allen said, adding that he expects Arroyo Grande will be on the opposite side of the draw as Righetti.
“We have to get consistent because there are times that we can beat high-ranked teams,” Jewell said. “I think we have a good chance to make it to the semifinals and put up a pretty good game. If we play well and consistent, we can go all the way to the finals.”
Paso Robles defeated Pioneer Valley 11-5 behind four Mitchell Lunker goals to take fifth place in the tournament.
San Luis Obispo took out Atascadero 16-7 to claim third place. Galen Penvenee had seven goals for the Tigers in the win.