Senior Jasen Line leads team in scoring
MORRO BAY — Paso Robles High School boys water polo dropped a back-and-forth CIF Central Section Div. 3 playoff game 7-6 to tenth-seeded Madera on Wednesday in Morro Bay.
The win-or-go-home game was the first of a playoff tripleheader at Morro Bay High School’s pool. The girls teams from Paso Robles and Atascadero High School also played at the location because the schools did not have playoff regulation pools.
The Bearcats boys team entered the game with a 19-9 overall mark that included their first league title in 20 years. The Coyotes finished the regular season at 9-9 and near the bottom of the County Metro League but capitalized on the Bearcats’ mistakes and came away with the win.
“It has been a phenomenal experience,” Paso Robles head coach Collin Moore said following the game. “All of the boys, they love the game, they show up to practice wanting to learn something. So the buy-in has been huge and the players, I mean we get in tussles every now and then and get into discussions about why we do stuff, but once you explain it to them they are invested and it has been awesome to see their commitment in the game but also in the weight room and practice. Today is not what we wanted, but the game itself, it was a good game. They scored and capitalized on opportunities we slipped up on, which happens, which makes us a little more aware going forward in the future of what it takes to beat the other teams that are going to be in the top 10 for our CIF Division.”
The game was a defensive battle sprinkled with great offensive plays. It was tied after the first quarter and 1-1 and tied at halftime at only 2-2.
Pedro Guerra got the Bearcats on the scoreboard in the first with a beautiful lob shot that whipped the crowd into a frenzy and tied the game at 1-all.
The Coyotes took the lead again early in the second quarter until Tre Eade tied it up again for PRHS. Both teams appeared to be tight in the first half and conservative in their offensive sets but found their groove in the second half as the teams combined for more points in the third period than they did in the entire first half.
Offensively Paso Robles ran through their seniors in the second half. Jasen Line took care of the offense and goalie Zane Warren anchored the defense as he has done for the last three years.
Warren put on a show in the cage making 16 saves but it felt like 40 as many of the Coyotes’ shots ricocheted off the bar and back into the field of play. Warren has been a staple of the Bearcats rebuild and like Line put in his time with underperforming teams in years past but shined this season and added an offensive element to his game.
Line scored almost immediately out of halftime and then added goals on back-to-back possessions near the end of the quarter as he proved he was too big and too strong for the Coyotes’ defense ending the game and his high school water polo career with a hat trick.
“Honestly it was an amazing experience,’ Line said after the game. “I started as a goalie but I had to get surgery so I got turned into a field player and honestly I think that is the best thing that ever happened to me because I have so many memories with these great guys.”
When most teams are eliminated from the playoffs they will throw fits and go out angry, which is understandable considering the amount of time and effort they put into their games, but the Bearcats team was gracious in defeat giving credit to their opponents while appreciating the moment.
“I don’t know if there is anything that I would change [about the game],” Moore said. “All the guys that I put in had a purpose and a reason and they played their hearts out. I wish I could have gotten in some of the guys that didn’t play any minutes but it is what it is and it’s a competitive sport and not everyone can get minutes in every game.”
This season’s Ocean League title was the first in 20 years for PRHS and with a young team and a growing youth program, the future looks bright in Paso Robles.