The Modesto High boys water polo team was badly in need of a win.
The Panthers lost their previous Modesto Metro Conference game to Oakdale and went 0-5 in a tournament last weekend.
So they went back to the basics against Johansen with tough defense. Chris Gallardo scored three goals and Alex Abid two, leading Modesto to a 5-4 victory over the Vikings on Tuesday at Johansen.
Modesto took a 4-3 lead into the fourth quarter, but that lead became even more precarious when Gallardo -- the team's leading scorer -- was ejected for throwing elbows.
"The defense was there, though," Modesto coach Eric Byrd said. "I'm really happy with how we're playing defense."
The Panthers (6-1 MMC) added one more goal -- a lefty shot by Abid from the right side -- and that would be enough.
The Vikings (4-3 MMC) pulled to within 5-4 when Austin Kidd scored from point-blank range with 1:40 left, but the Modesto defense held after that.
"We need to work on our offense a little more," Byrd said.
Much of Modesto's offense left when Gallardo did. He was held to three goals, but he showed his explosiveness when he scored on two consecutive possessions in the third quarter.
"Give the credit to Cody (Howell) and Matt (Wolfe)," Byrd said. "They came in, and I didn't see a drop-off on defense. They played well."
OAKDALE 17, BEYER 0, at Oakdale -- The Mustangs raised their MMC record to 7-0 by blanking the Patriots. Robby Earle scored seven goals and Chris Terwilliger three, but the star of the day was goalie Garrett Porter, who had six saves and teamed with Jake Cook (one save) for the rare shutout.
TURLOCK 12, LOS BANOS 8, at Turlock -- Eric Bonander and Zac Young scored three goals apiece to lead the Bulldogs (5-1 Central California Conference) over Los Banos (0-6) and keep them in the thick of the race.
PITMAN 7, ATWATER 6, at Pitman -- The Pride (3-3 CCC) survived a scoreless fourth quarter to beat the Falcons (2-4) and keep their playoff hopes alive. Pitman led 7-4 after three quarters, thanks to two goals apiece from Ian Roos and Toby Stonelake.
CERES 15, DAVIS 9, at Ceres -- Shane Nunes scored five goals, and the Bulldogs held the Spartans' usually prolific Tyler Bolton to three goals for the MMC win. Ceres goalie Kenny Carroll had a busy day, making 21 saves.
DOWNEY 3, DAVIS 2, at Davis -- Noel Ochoa supplied the offense with a goal and an assist, and goalie Canek Ambriz preserved the victory as the Knights (6-1-1 MMC) held off the Spartans (1-5-2).
CENTRAL VALLEY 5, WESTON RANCH 1, at Stockton -- With Francisco Aguirre knocking away shots in the goal, the Hawks (11-0-1, 6-0 Valley Oak League) rolled past the Cougars (1-5) to set up Thursday's battle for first place with rival Ceres. The match is at 4 at CV.
PATTERSON 12, CENTRAL CATHOLIC 0, at Patterson -- The Western Athletic Conference race is shaping up the way most folks figured with the big three of Patterson (5-0-1, 16 points), Hilmar (4-1-1, 13 points) and Livingston (5-0-2, 17 points) fighting it out for the crown and three berths in the playoffs. Hilmar and Patterson have a makeup match with each other, which is why Livingston has played an extra match.
Rodrigo Aldana and Gustavo Melina each celebrated a hat trick, and Luis Torres and Martin Moreno combined to post the shutout.
LIVINGSTON 2, ORESTIMBA 0, at Newman -- Alanso Lara, The Bee's All-Stanislaus District goalie last year, posted the shutout to keep the Wolves (5-0-2 WAC) in the three-team race with Hilmar and Patterson for the title.
HILMAR 7, GUSTINE 0, at Hilmar -- The Yellowjackets (7-6-1, 4-1-1 WAC) jumped to a 5-0 halftime lead as Jordan Bettencourt had two goals and an assist.
JOHANSEN 9, BEYER 1, at Johansen -- Jose Luiz Rodriguez scored a career-high five goals and had two assists as the Vikings crushed the Patriots. Rodriguez helped Johansen to a 4-0 halftime lead, and the Vikings continued to shoot away in the second half.