MODESTO — Grant Plunkett scored nine goals in leading Johansen High School's boys water polo team to a 14-11 victory over Enochs in a key early-season match at the B. Brent Bohlender Aquatic Facility on Thursday.
With the victory, Johansen is 2-0 in Modesto Metro Conference play, while Enochs drops to 1-1. And since only two teams will advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs from the MMC, this early league encounter carried a little more weight than usual.
Plunkett, who now has 79 goals in 14 games this season, is chasing the school's single-season mark (183) set by John Jacobs 20 years ago. With a minimum of 16 games remaining this season, Plunkett is currently on pace for 169. He could've had more goals Thursday but missed on a couple of no-look attempts and hit the post twice.
"Plunkett did what he had to do," said Enochs coach Nick French.
The Vikings jumped out to a 3-0 lead with just over 2 minutes to play in the first quarter. Plunkett scored the first two and Branston Lewis had the other the first of his two in the contest. But the Eagles struck twice Carter Reynolds and Cody Sharar in the final 62 seconds of the stanza to close the gap.
Enochs' momentum proved to be short-lived, as the Vikings' Mackenzie Muncrief scored on a man-up situation to make it 4-2, then scored again 90 seconds later when Plunkett nailed one off the post and he corralled a big, juicy rebound and put it in for a 5-2 advantage.
Johansen outscored Enochs 3-1 the final 5 minutes of the first half and led 8-3.
"Our defense did very well today," said Johansen coach Erica Crain. "They stayed on Cody and stopped him from shooting. We did the things we wanted to accomplish today."
Sharar, the Eagles' hole-set, finished with two goals. Sharar, David Seifert and Trenton Williams scored in succession for the Eagles as they made it 9-6 with 2:58 to play in the third, but Plunkett scored three times in the last 2:45 two in the final 50 seconds to stretch the margin to five.
"We had to take some calculated risks late in the game," said French, whose team will host Beyer at Johansen High on Tuesday. "There were some shots we should've made and we took some tired shots. Johansen did a very good job."
For Enochs, Carter Reynolds led the way with three goals, while Seifert and Ethan Tucker had two apiece.
In the girls' game, Enochs won 8-3 as Averi Peterson had three goals. Alyna Smith scored twice for Johansen, which will play at Downey on Tuesday.