LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Carlo Sivilotti has never forgotten what one of his former coaches once told him: "The third quarter of anything is when you show your true colors."
That's exactly what Sivilotti and the Flintridge Prep boys' water polo team did in their Prep League and regular-season finale at home against Chadwick Saturday.
The Rebels found themselves down by two at the end of the first quarter and tied at halftime, but it was the third quarter when they scored three unanswered goals to pull ahead and never looked back. Prep added to its run and put the game away with consecutive goals to start the fourth for an 11-7 victory to solidify its spot as the No. 2 team in its league.
"That's what we did today," Sivilotti said of the third-quarter quote from his former coach. "We went on a 3-0 run, we turned up our defense, turned up our offense, shut them down and put them away."
There were a number of standout performances for Flintridge Prep. Sivilotti had a game-high five goals. Ethan Vandeventer scored three goals and added two assists and a pair of steals, while playing through pain after he hyper extended the middle and index fingers of his right hand in Friday's 17-15 win over Webb. John Treinen, usually Prep's top goal scorer, played unselfishly with four assists, four steals, two field blocks and a goal. Diego Delgado also had a three-assist, two-goal and two-field block performance for Prep (16-8, 7-3 in league).
"I think we really just clicked as a team today," said Vandeventer, whose team enters the postseason as the No. 2 team out of its league for the first time in seven years. "Everybody just did their best and that's all we can ask for. We didn't want to end our season with a close game, we just wanted to put it away and show we meant business. We are looking forward to playoffs now."
The Rebels' third-quarter push was fueled by a last-second goal before halftime from Sivilotti, which erased a two-goal deficit and tied the game at 5.
It looked as if the Dolphins (10-13, 5-4) would be the ones taking momentum into halftime when their junior utility J.B. Anderson (three goals) grabbed a rebound off a shot from teammate Bryan Renslo (two goals) that went off the post and lobbed it across the cage for the goal and a 5-4 Chadwick advantage with 1:02 left in the half.
Vandeventer gave Prep, which is ranked fifth in CIF Southern Section Division V, another chance to pull even when he drew an ejection with 15 seconds left in the half, which prompted a Rebels timeout. Sivilotti got two shots to tie the game after his first shot was field blocked by Anderson to Treinen, who quickly fed Sivilotti for another shot that was buried for a goal with one second left on the clock.
"For the second time in two days, he scores that big goal before the end of a quarter that just cripples a team," Flintridge Prep Coach Dan Hare said. "It just really hurts."
The Rebels carried that momentum into the third quarter with Vandeventer giving them their first lead of the day 1:05 into the second half when he scored off a pass from Treinen. Vandeventer pushed the lead to 7-5 with about four minutes left in the quarter when he converted a man-advantage chance off a pass from freshman Sean King.
Sivilotti, who also won all four sprints, ran Prep's lead to three with 2:16 left in the third. The goal was set up by a save and outlet pass from Prep goalie Brian Khin (six saves, two steals) to an unmanned Sivilotti, who skipped in a shot to the right corner of the cage from a tough angle.
Two more Prep goals from Vandeventer and Sivilotti in the first 1:19 of the fourth quarter put the Rebels up, 10-5, and effectively ended the game thanks to a tough Rebels defense. Treinen led that effort, as he had two steals and blocked a shot just in front of Prep's goal with 5:30 to play to deny Chadwick on a man-advantage goal.
Recent history didn't indicate a multiple-goal victory between the Rebels and the Dolphins, as the teams played to overtime in two previous meetings this year with neither side ever holding more than a goal advantage through 10 quarters of play until Saturday.
Prep defeated Chadwick in overtime in the first meeting of the season in the Los Altos Tournament, 6-5, and then fell to the Dolphins in the first league meeting between the two squads, 7-6, in an extra frame.
It's another step in the right direction for a Prep program that has taken big strides the past three years under Hare. The Rebels went 0-10 in league in 2010, 4-6 to earn a Division V wild-card berth in 2011 and now have a good shot at hosting their playoff opener. The brackets will be released Nov. 4 at 9 a.m.
"First year I played we didn't win any league games," Sivilotti said. "It's the coaching and it's us growing up, but I am looking forward to going to CIF this year and next year as well. ... This year we are aiming to win some games and go as far as we can."