The Flower Mound girls gave Clear Springs a challenge in opening round play on Saturday but fell by four goals after scrambling to catch up in the final minutes. Coach Dan Snow’s team is comprised of girls who play water polo only during the high school season, he said after the game. That may change soon as the school will soon have access to a brand new aquatic center, a subject of much conversation among Dallas-area coaches at the tournament. Snow enthusiastically acknowledged that the Westside Aquatic Center, to be completed in November, would offer to host the TISCA championships again in four years when it will be held in the North region again. The pool will also be utilized by growing local club, Thunder.
Denton Ryan and Jersey Village put on a nervy, intense and noisy quarterfinal match, stands filled with JV supporters who clearly travelled from Houston well. Ryan could not overcome some defensive breakdowns along with JV’s shooting and lost 9-7. One player who stood out was Ryan’s Richard Szepesi, a Hungarian exchange student. The converted goalkeeper was schooled in the legendary Szeged club but wanted to play in the field this year, according to coach Chris Cullen. Though raw in the field he exhibits the kind of balance and length common among European-trained athletes.
St. Mark’s and Clear Creek will meet in the boys’ semifinals. Either could be considered a favorite to win the tournament but are slotted against one another by dint of seeding. St. Mark’s was merciless against Lamar in the quarterfinals winning 19-8 while Clear Creek dispatched The Woodlands. Each features players who stand out: St. Mark’s lean lefty Timothy Smienc (whom we witnessed in the 2012 state tournament) and Creek’s Jared Castillo.
While there appears to be a clear group of favorites among the boys, no team on the girls’ side has dominated in the same way. Clear Lake beat Lamar by 9 in the semis, but both Clear Creek and Baytown Sterling on the other side of the bracket appear capable of competing for the title.