Girls HS Polo Central Section (CIF-CS) Finals — this year underway and flourishing!

The 2012-2013 year is well underway with the Fall 2012 in Central and Northern California concluded successfully! This past week was a great experience for me, observing many competitions and feeling that girl’s water polo continues to advance at both a State and Regional level…

The Golden Gate Bridge, storm coming in...Call this a Travelog — or call this a Travelblog — or how about a Travel-log-blog? — after about 1600 miles of driving, from LA to San Jose, to as far north as Marin County, then south and back to the center of the great state of California, I was able to witness first hand six games spanning four divisions in CIF-CS and CIF-CCS. Here’s the synopsis:

Main thrust — for 2012, CIF-CS D-I rocks, and they’re on par with CIF-CCS D-I and II.

CIF-CS Championship Line-up

CIF-CS Division I Championship Introductions
Clovis Cougars vs. Clovis West Eagles

FRESNO: Clovis HS, back-to-back 2010 and 2011 Champions, hosted Clovis West, 10-time past Champions, in a thriller worthy of a Championship-rivalry-clash! It was my extreme pleasure (finally) watching the  phenomenal junior Mary Brooks score six, grab three steals, and make three field blocks in her teams’ 9-7 win after jumping to a 3-1 first quarter lead. West scored on several counterattacks and maintained a 2-goal cushion throughout, 5-3 at half and 8-6 at third, with three additional goals by freshman sensation Sarah Snyder, who added an insurance goal with less than a minute to go. The story of the match was the well-balanced West defense that forced their opponent to waste lots of possession time on the perimeter…

Cougar Land

Cougar Cheerleaders and crowd root for the home team!

I should mention the past Champions — what a great team they are! Let by last year’s Valley MVP, Hannah Harvey, who had 2 assists and 2 steals, but was keyed on throughout the game,  the Clovis Varsity worked hard to get back into the match with goals by seniors Maecie Collard and Kylie Wheelock and sophomores McKenna Hauss and Miranda Coleman, but were unable to equalize when it was needed. Interesting to note, five senior starters, of the eight seniors overall, are destined to play Intercollegiate Varsity as offers are in the making! [I hope to follow up on this note, as the lucky schools look to include UC Davis (Harvey), UOP (Catie Mahnke), CSU Monterrey Bay (Wheelock), CSU Long Beach (Ashlee Coleman) and potentially San Jose State (Collard) — I’m rooting for Maecie to get picked up by SJS as she had a great HS career and would be a fit for coaches Lou Tully and Johnny Bega, in my estimation.] 

VISALIA, Golden West HS: Good news, it was a good game for the Division II Championship between Hanford West and San Joaquin Memorial (SJM), 10-5 in favor of the top seed Hanford West, who had already beaten SJM earlier in the year. Questionable news, I need to mention, is that the venues for the three Divisions NEED TO BE CONSOLIDATED — as both CIF-CCS and CIF-SJS does —

which would promote a better understanding of what the different play is like in the different Divisions. [Note: instead the Division Sectionals are hours and miles apart, which clearly keeps knowledge separate, unfortunately.]

Back to the game itself… Although led by spirited SJM play by Brie Fleming and Katelyn Cordoza, Hanford West had Co-Captains Dagmar Gudmundsson and Katelyn Hatfield, as well as 2m Set Kaelyn Caretto control the ball and the scoreboard throughout the contest. Caretto assisted to Gudmundsson for the first goal, then scored a backhand and a sweep from set to take a 3-0 lead after one period. In the second, Cordoza and Fleming each scored to draw within one, but then Caretto and Gudmundsson stretched the lead to 5-2 and half and 7-4 by the third, all from set plays in front court offense. Surprisingly  (for me) there were no counterattacks during the contest.

[Final anecdote: it was kinda cool that, on the way to the Golden West HS pool, one had to drive up “Lover’s Lane” to get from the freeway to the campus… makes you glad to be home!]

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