Flintridge Prep boys' water polo

Flintridge Prep's John Treinen takes a shot against Pasadena Poly in a Prep League boys' water polo match at Flintridge Prep on Wednesday. The Panthers beat the Rebels, 9-8. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer) (October 30, 2013)

LA CAÑADA —Over the past couple of weeks, the members of the Flintridge Prep boys' water polo team have played a difficult schedule that's included facing several top-10 teams in CIF Southern Section Division V.

Flintridge Prep Coach Dan Hare wanted the schedule drawn up that way, especially with the playoffs on the horizon. While the Rebels remain among the top-10 programs in the division, they have fallen short in several close defeats.

It's not for a lack of effort, though.

“I'm not looking at our win-loss record, just that we play well in these games and try to get the job done in the playoffs,” Hare said after Flintridge Prep suffered a 9-8 Prep League home loss against rival Pasadena Poly on Wednesday. “We've have never played Poly like we just did today.

PHOTOS: Prep League boys water polo Flintridge Prep v. Pasadena Poly

“We are losing the close ones now, but we want to be able to learn from this.”

Pasadena Poly, which won the division championship last season and is ranked sixth in the latest division poll, got a tremendous effort from goalkeeper Josh Ball. Ball made 14 saves to help the Panthers improve to 17-5, 7-0 in league. The 10th-ranked Rebels (11-11, 5-2) got three goals from Ethan Vandeventer.

Flintridge Prep and Pasadena Poly will meet against at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at Pasadena Poly.

The Rebels have faced Pasadena, Crescenta Valley and Pasadena Poly in their last three matches, losing by a combined five goals. All three teams are currently ranked in the division.

“Each win or loss, you learn something,” said Vandeventer, a reigning All-Area honoree who scored with eight seconds remaining to trim the deficit to 9-8. “We are playing well, but we aren't getting some breaks.

“We get another shot at them next week and we'll look to bounce back. Poly is one of the top teams in the league.”

Pasadena Poly built a 9-5 lead on a goal by Brock Hudnut with 3:34 remaining in the match. Unfazed, the Rebels mounted a furious comeback, getting goals in a little more than two minutes from John Treinen, Carlo Sivilotti and Vandeventer. The experienced Panthers swam out the final eight seconds to cap the win.

Pasadena Poly Coach Ryan Katsuyama said Ball proved to be the difference throughout the match.

“He saved us, especially in a couple of six-on-five situations,” Katsuyama said. “We've played in so many big games, so we know how to handle different situations, like being down, 2-0, in the first quarter and then getting back to the game plan.

“We had to create offensive opportunities. These are two good teams who will make the playoffs.”

Flintridge Prep jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals by Diego Delgado early in the first quarter, forcing Pasadena Poly to call timeout.

Sebastian Hart and Omar Dairi each scored a goal to knot it at 2 late in the opening quarter.

After Vandeventer scored with 5:13 left in the second quarter to give the Rebels a 3-2 advantage, the Panthers bounced back with one goal each from Hudnut and Dairi to build a 4-3 halftime advantage. A Vandeventer goal made it 5-5 with 2:02 left in the third quarter. Pasadena Poly received one goal apiece from Dennis Grover and Spencer Rogers in the final minute of the third quarter to take a 7-5 lead.

“There's a mutual respect between the two teams,” Hare said. “We've had some tough losses and we'd like to see a different result.”