SLIDESHOW: EHS WATER POLO: Top 12 to battle for state title

Mason Culp fired up the Hornet offene Thursday during a 14-13 victory over Auburn Riverside.

The Enumclaw High boys water polo team heads to the state tournament Thursday. An opening-round opponent was not known at publication time, but the Hornets’ 14-13, come-from-behind victory over Auburn Riverside in the season finale Thursday bodes well for the team.

State tournament play begins at 3 p.m. Thursday with games at Lakes and Rogers high schools. Each of the top 12 teams will play two games Thursday with the top eight teams advancing to the final rounds Friday and Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

Seeding will be determined by a tournament committee, based on league standings and nonleague results. Eleven teams  – Enumclaw, Auburn Mountainview, Auburn Riverside, Wilson, Curtis, Rogers, Puyallup, Peninsula, Emerald Ridge, Newport and Bellevue – have qualified. Roosevelt and Bainbridge Island were scheduled to  play for the North Division’s third seed.

In the Hornets’ regular-season closer, the visiting and state-bound Ravens got off to a fast start, scoring two goals in the first 4 minutes to take a 2-0 lead. Hornet Mason Culp put Enumclaw on the scoreboard on the Hornets’ third power play with 3:26 left in the first quarter. Raven Luke Andrews scored a minute later. EHS’s Will Cooper scored with 47 seconds on the clock for a 3-2 Riverside advantage going into the second quarter.

Auburn Riverside scored six in the second quarter and kept the Hornets to four goals for a 9-6 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Hornet defense adjusted to the Ravens’ play at center and cranked up the offense to outscore the Ravens 5-1 and take an 11-10 lead into the final period.

Both teams played tough through the final period with the score tied twice in the final 4 minutes of the game. Culp put the Hornets ahead for good with a goal with 2:49 remaining.

The Hornets had scoring from five players in the win – Bennon VanHoof scored four; Gabe Sales and Culp each scored three; and Thomas Petersen and Cooper scored two each. Freshman goalkeeper Austin Kaehn had 13 saves.

Enumclaw finished its regular season with a 6-4 league record, 14-11 overall.