Palisades’ Maximo Speiser (right) cocks to shoot during Saturday’s championship game against Flintridge Prep. The Dolphins won 10-5 to capture their third consecutive Malibu Classic title.
Photo: Steve Galluzzo

Pali High Boys Water Polo Nets Third Straight Malibu Classic Crown

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

For the second straight weekend, the Palisades High  boys water polo team found itself in position to win a tournament. Applying what they learned from a stinging loss in the semifinals of the Conejo Classic seven days earlier, the Dolphins allowed no such letdown Saturday, pushing past Culver City to earn a spot in the finals, then building an early lead and never letting up against La Canada Flintridge Prep to capture the Malibu Classic for the third straight year at Malibu High.

“We had a three-goal lead in the fourth quarter in the semis last week against Thousand Oaks and let it slip away and we had a three-goal lead at halftime against Brentwood on Monday and lost that,” Pali High assistant coach Kirk Lazaruk said after the Dolphins’ 10-7 semifinal triumph over Culver City despite missing six key players. “So the goal this tournament was to not let up—keep the pressure on and keep moving the whole game.”    

Palisades routed Nordhoff 18-1 and Royal 14-3 to win its pool on Friday, then Lazaruk got everyone in uniform playing time in the semifinals before head coach Adam Blakis returned for the final, when Oliver Grant scored 15 seconds into the game en route to a 10-5 win.   

The Dolphins open league Monday against LACES.