The Loomis Chaffee Water Polo team hosted defending New England Champions Deerfield at Hedges Pool on Wednesday. The Pelicans, with some confidence after a narrow loss to a solid Andover squad on Saturday earned an early power play in the first period but were unable to convert the opportunity. Deerfield’s strong defense and aggressive counterattack set the tempo in the opening quarter as the Big Green opened up a 5-1 lead on goals by Grant (3), Oscar Maio(1) and Lee(1). Loomis Co-Captain Addison Wright was able to break the ice for the Pelicans on a penalty shot, but otherwise the Pelican offense was held in check.
Attacking the deep end goal in the 2nd, the Pelicans offense found their rhythm as their defense gained confidence. During the quarter, Wright tallied twice and Co-Captain Will Bogle added two goals with strong moves at 2m. Maio notched his second goal for Deerfield midway through the quarter and the teams went into halftime with Loomis trailing 6-5.
Knowing they needed a strong defensive effort in the 3rd period the Pelicans shifted to a sloughing defense and were able to burn more clock during their offensive possessions. Grant scored again for Deerfield with just under two minutes remaining in the quarter, but Bogle was able to counter with goal down low for Loomis. Deerfield’s Bridges then answered with a strong perimeter shot for a goal but Wright was able to strike on the ensuing possession to keep the Pelicans close.
The final period was full of drama as Bogle scored to tie the game for the first time. Grant put Deerfield back up (9-8) midway through the period but Loomis senior Jake Bosee answered to tie the score again. On the next possession, Bridges knocked home another long-range blast, but Wright was able to shrug off his defended on the next trip down the pool and tied the game at 10-10. Following a Deerfield timeout, freshman Landon Theis and Bosee combined for a key steal and then Theis found Wright on a drive that generated the go ahead goal. The Big Green kept up the pressure and missed a big chance to tie on a power play with 90 seconds remaining in the game. The Pelican’s stopped one final Deerfield attack in the final minute and then ran out the clock for the victory. It was a hard fought contest start to finish and a significant milestone for the Loomis program.