Dexter Water Polo Claims Regional Title in Epic Four-Overtime Thriller
Photo from Dexter Water Polo Facebook
To say the East Division water polo regional final between Dexter and Ann Arbor Pioneer was a thriller may be an understatement.
The two teams had split four games during the season with the most recent a Pioneer victory in the district championship game and this one was the best one of them all.
The teams went toe-to-toe in an epic four-overtime match that Dexter won when goaltender Tony Golin skipped in a shot just inside the left post for the sudden death game winner to pull out a 7-6 win in the fourth OT.
Golin is known for being an offensive minded goaltender and it showed Saturday night as he scored as time expired in the first period to give the Dreadnaughts a 3-2 lead after one.
The Pioneer defense that locked down the Dreadnaughts in the district final once again clamped down on the Dreads in the next two quarter as Pioneer took a 4-3 lead at the half and held on to the lead after a scoreless third quarter.
Pioneer looked to seal the win with a goal with 1:19 left in the fourth to take a 5-3 lead, but Dexter wasn't done. The Dreadnaughts scored with just over a minute left and tied the game with nine seconds left to make it 5-5 and send it into overtime.
Both teams would score in the first overtime period to make it 6-6 and they battled to a scoreless second overtime to send it into a sudden death third overtime.
Neither team found then net in the sudden death third overtime to send it to a fourth OT.
Just over a minute in to the fourth overtime, Golin made a save on a Pioneer shot and instead of passing down the pool, he swam the ball out for the extra attacker. After a pass to his right, he got the ball back and fired a skip shot just inside the left pole for the game winner.
Tristan Lorincz led Dexter with a pair of goals, while Ben Duncan scored one and assisted on Golin's game-winner. Leo Varitek and Sam Sterlitz also scored for Dexter.
Golin stopped 14 shots in net to go along with his two goals and added an assist.
The Dreadnaughts opened the regional by blowing out Lake Orion 15-2 May 19.
Clayton Kinnard had a big night with four goals, while Sterlitz had three goals and one assist. Varitek finished with two goals and three assists, Duncan two goals and one assist, Lorincz two goals, Jack Potsos and Joe Sharon one goal each. Golin made seven saves and had one assist in goal for the Dreadnaughts.
Dexter then knocked off #1 seed Birmingham Groves 10-8 in the semifinals.
Groves took a 2-1 lead after one quarter, but Dexter battled back to take a 5-3 lead at the half.
The Dreads led 8-6 after three and held on for the two-goal win.
Sterlitz had a huge game in front of the net with seven goals and four steals to lead the Dreadnaughts. Duncan, Varitek, and Lorincz added one goal and assist each with Kinnard dishing out one assist. Golin stopped nine shots in net and picked up one assist.
Sterlitz was named the East Regional MVP with 11 goals, three assists, and 10 steals.
Varitek, Duncan and Golin were named First-Team All-Region for the Dreads.
The Dreadnaughts will take part in the state finals tournament at Hudsonville/East Kentwood June 11-12. They will take on Zeeland at 1:00 Friday June 11 in the quarterfinals.
Dexter improved to 16-2 overall on the season.