By Stephen Ramirez
NORCO >> Diamond Bar High School playing Eastvale’s Roosevelt was a surprise matchup in the CIF Southern Section Division 6 boys water polo semifinals. But it’s the host Mustangs who will get the chance to live out their Cinderella dream in Saturday’s final.Bryce Beatty scored six goals and Trevor Seifen stopped 10 shots and Roosevelt held off Diamond Bar to score a 6-5 victory over the Brahmas at Norco High.
Roosevelt (21-13), an at-large entry from the Big VIII League that upset No. 2 seed Ocean View in the quarterfinals, will face top seed Xavier Prep, an 8-4 winner over Alta Loma, in Saturday’s championship game at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Complex in Irvine.
Diego Hammond had two goals and Sebastian Houng had 12 saves for Diamond Bar (21-12), which was in the semifinals for the first time in school history.
The Brahmas, who led 3-2 at halftime, had a chance to tie it late, but were unable to get a shot off in the closing seconds.
“It feels great,” Beatty said. “Senior year, going far … It’s good.”
Beatty scored four goals in the second half, including the game-winner from the hole with 5:31 left in the fourth quarter.
Seifen made it stand with two big saves with four, and then three, minutes to play.
Diamond Bar, which was shut out in the final quarter, had two chances to tie it in the final minute. The Brahmas forced a turnover with 39 seconds left, but a long pass was intercepted with 34 seconds to give it back to the Mustangs, who then took a shot-clock violation, leaving Diamond Bar just 4 seconds remaining.
The Brahmas got the ball to Dario Mariani, who was unable to get a shot off.
“(Roosevelt) played great defense,” Diamond Bar co-head coach Kevin Hammond said. “They have got a great goalie (Seifen) in the cage to back them up and they took away our game plan. They played great today.”
Aaron Velarde, Hammond and Mariani all had first-half goals to give Diamond Bar a 3-2 lead at halftime. But Beatty scored three times in the third quarter for a 5-4 lead, and then the game-winner in the fourth.
“Coach (Tyler Harp) told us at halftime to just play with our heart,” Beatty said. “Who ever plays hardest wins. They gave us a good fight. It was a good game.”