2015 Fall CIF-NCS Playoffs – Sectional Semi-Final

November 13, 2015

Highway SignThe CIF North Coast Section conducted their four CIF Semi-Final games for Girls High School Water Polo, Wednesday November 11, VETERAN’S DAY, at multiple locations. KAI~Sports was able to attend the two games held at Miramonte HS, Moraga, California, but first, in honor of our nation’s vets, here’s a quick image taken of the route between Northern and Southern Cal:

The 6pm contest featured the NCS Division-1 seed #2 Monte Vista (Danville) against the #3 Las Lomas (Walnut Creek). The winner would earn the right to play against thesection #1, San Ramon Valley.

Barreling out of the chute with multiple counters and flowing front court offense, Monte Vista jumped to a 6-3 halftime lead that grew to 12-4 halfway through the fourth quarter. Apparently Monte Vista showed the same full-flowing counter-attacks that allowed them to beat higher ranked opponents Acalanes, Clovis (Central Section, twice), St. Francis (Sac-San Joaquin Section), Soquel (Central Coast Section) and Miramonte (two wins, one loss) this season.

Balanced scoring was the key, with Mustang goals from Juniors Aubrey Milham and Lea Miller (3), Sophomores Lauren Indart (2), Clare Malin and Jolie Trujillo (5), and Freshman Morgan Lewis. Indart and Freshman Goalie Madison Davis had two assists each.

“We’re super excited to be back in the Final,” said Trujillo just after the game. We worked really hard on our 6-on-5 drop D to prep for the Semis, and now we’ll work harder to work to get to set more to get more ejections to work 6-on-5 O.”

“We are coached to anticipate, and we really anticipated well,” commented Lea Miller. “I’m sure we’ll be persistent with our team counters in our next game.”

Monte Vista offense

Monte Vista’s super soph, Jolie Trujillo, shoots long versus Las Lomas.

Per Mustang Head Coach Scott Turner, “We had a great game tonight. We’ll go back to hard work the next two days to prepare for SRV… since we’ve chipped away at their point spread (Ed.note: early season 12-goal differential has been improved to 6 and then 3 of recent), we believe we have a great chance for a win.”

This was confirmed by Las Lomas Knights Assistant Coach, Megan Calderazzo, “If MV pulls out all the stops like they did against us, then they can pull the upset. Our team just had a difficulty tonight in that our top player (Roxy Wheaton) had three (ejections) by the second quarter. We ‘lit a fire’ — and the girls kept motivated to try to ‘get Roxy one more game.’ We rotated Sophomore Ava Johnson to Roxy’s position at set, and she played well.” (Both Ava and Roxy scored at that position.)

As an aside, the NCS showed class in introductions of each of the four competing teams. Since it was really cold on deck, the players remained in the water after warm-ups, but each number/name/class was announced to the cheers and traditional double-clap of the crowd:


Player introductions at poolside, Miramonte High School, Moraga, CA.

The 7:30 pm contest found the home team, D-2 #1 Miramonte versus #4 Marin Catholic (Kentfield). Marin Catholic’s star, cap 5, Natalie Galuszka, was held hostage off the scoreboard by Miramonte’s defense until the fourth quarter, although she did have two assists to go along with her score, her team losing 3-13 against the more physical Matadores.

The Miramonte Matadors, aided by multiple field blocks and Goalkeeper Paige Miller blocks (including a 5-meter penalty shot), were spotted by great depth and the starters — two seniors and four sophomores.

Two of the Sophmores, Carson Broad and Grace Tehaney, were interviewed after the game. “We’re both excited! We’ve really been looking forward to the upcoming Final at Acalanes.” Per Grace, who scored the game-high tally of seven goals and two assists, “We just need to keep doing what we’re doing.” Indeed, she played great. Per Carson, who’s the team’s speedy sprinter but only finished with one assist, “We need to get (and stay) healthy; I’ve been sick and worn out, so I just need to (get well and) have a better game.”

Head Coach Noel Murphy, “I’m really proud of our girls. We beat the Northern Cal #1, San Ramon Valley, 11-8 just three short weeks ago. They’re in D-1, top seed, and we’re cruising in D-2. Since we busted their win streak and earned their only defeat of this season, I feel we’re in the drivers seat to win D-1.” Time will tell…

2015 Fall CIF-SJS Playoffs – Sectional Semi-Finals

November 10, 2015

The CIF San Joaquin Section conducted a superior six-game session for Girls High School Water Polo, Tuesday November 10, at Johansen HS, Modesto, California. Tournament Director Brent Bohlender hosted the Semis for all three Divisions in this new format, since Division III was added to CIF-SJS this year.

Most exciting game of the day was the D-III opener between #1 seed El Camino (Sacramento) and #4 El Capitan HS (Merced). In a game that featured nine ties and eight lead changes, the result was not realized until the end of double overtime, El Cap winning 12-11.

El Capitan Girls Water Polo

The El Capitan team gives a cheer following its exciting win in CIF-SJS Semi-Finals.

According to winning Coach Kristie Dunham, “We had some serious foul trouble. We had to adjust with a zone defense late in the game, and our players showed a lot of composure in OT.”

As a new second year varsity program, El Cap excelled on both defense and offense. Scoring was balanced, with 2014-2015 KAI~Cal-HI All-America Junior Hope Stokes leading with five, followed by Marion Carpenter and Metztli Enriquez, two each, and Alexandra Jasso, MacKenzie Wenham and Evie Mumford one tally each.

El Capitan - Hope Stokes

El Capitan’s Hope Stokes glances back to receive accolades from her winning teammates.

“We needed the win to play on Saturday, so we had to dig deep inside,” Hope Stokes commented. “Coach told us entering overtime, ‘calm down and pull together.’ We did. We’ve been training really hard on taking the shot when fouled outside (the 5-meter mark). We’re super excited to be in THE FINAL!”

For eliminated El Camino, most goals and assists were traded by Seniors Kirsten Londeree, Rebecca Robinson, and Christine Wiley.

Second D-III Semi pitted #2 Kimball HS (Tracy) against tournament dark-horse Sonora HS. Although #6 Sonora had a 5-4 lead at half, with a tie at 5-5 and 6-6 in the third, Kimball scored six unanswered to clobber Sonora 12-6.

“We can score from anywhere, but 6-on-5s are our strength,” touted Kimball Coach Matt Gumpert. Primary go-to scorers were Kamryn Lucero and Michaela Smith, with superior goaltending by Aissa “AJ” Lee. Look for a great matchup in the Final.

The first D-II Semi again found the lower seed Del Oro jumping to a 6-3 lead in the third quarter, then 7-3 halfway through the fourth before ‘holding on’ to a 7-5 win over #1 St. Mary’s (Stockton). [Ed.Note: both St. Mary’s and Vintage HS (Napa) were realigned from D-I to D-II based on school population.]

“We were solid, top-to-bottom,” chirped Coach Jake Hastie, effervescent after the win. The proof was in Del Oro scoring, with tallies by Gabrielle Gazzaniga, Kiara Green, Carissa Johnson, Emelia Kingston, Lillian Stanwick — and Del Oro defense, with the girls “double-teaming the two lefties as part of the game plan” against St. Mary’s, Madasonne Butler and Hailey Williams — which kept them off the scoreboard for most of the game.

The second D-II matchup was #2 Vintage HS against #3 Oakdale HS, last year’s D-II Champion. This was defensive battle, 2-2 at half. Both senior goalies, Caitlin Golding, Oakdale, and Nathalie Brewster, Vintage, led their respective teams until the goal scoring of Senior Kate Allan and Junior Emily Bennett took charge of the game resulting in the 6-4 win. From vanquished Vintage, KAI~Cal-HI All-American Senior Kathleen Schafle scored all four, two on penalty shots, highly deserving of an “on the spot” award in a season-ending effort.

The CIF-SJS Girls Water Polo D-I result was the same for the last twelve years of Semi-Finals, with both Davis Senior High School and St. Francis winning and advancing to the Finals. [Ed.note: one of the 2003 Semis found Johansen HS winning…]

Advance words by Tom Brown, USA Olympic Development Program (ODP) Coach, “Both Teams should win easily, by ten, perhaps more, since both have ODP feeders from the Age Group level. In fact, Davis’ second seven are better than many schools’ first seven.”

Both comments played out, with Davis beating Lincoln HS (Stockton) 13-1 and St. Francis besting Lodi HS 10-3. Top goalkeeper in the Division appears to be Junior Katrina Sturm from Davis, but the number two may indeed be backup Freshman Emily Blackwell, who came on in the fourth with five stellar saves — the last on a 1-on-GK! Other great goalies Morgan Powell, Lodi, and Elle Minor, St. Francis, also drew notice.

Davis Senior HS Girls, under Coach Doug Wright, gather at twilight following their resounding CIF-SJS Semi-Final victory.

Davis Senior HS Girls, under Coach Doug Wright, gather at twilight following their resounding CIF-SJS Semi-Final victory.

On the offensive front, Davis’ starting six field players included Seniors Kendall Doten and Kinsey Van Deynze, Sophomores Scout Brown and Emily Tapio, and Freshmen Brooke Doten and Avery Warhover. For the record, all nineteen played, and the second six to mention were  Senior Megan Femling, Juniors Alena Alvarez, Alyssa Lengtat, Moira Williams, Tori Van Court, and Frosh Blackwell (in a field role).

Although eliminated, both Lodi HS and Lincoln HS played admirably. For the Lodi Flames, 2014-2015 KAI~Cal-HI All-American Senior McKenna Martin was pretty much controlled throughout by St. Francis’ defense, only scoring late in the last frame; picking up the bulk of the offense was Junior Olivia Grim, who, with 96 goals on the season, had several outside and inside shots, resulting in two goals in the Semi to go along with her two field blocks. As this season ended for these two teams, both Martin and Grim were “on the spot” and a class above the rest.

In the D-I Final, aside from Davis quick playmaking, look for St. Francis’ Seniors Julie Zanobini, Maggie Oys, Alyssa Tambornini, Caroline Urkov, Kira Chavez, Jennalyn Barthels and GK Minor contributing to try to knock of Davis, a feat the school has not pulled off since 2008.