Clovis, CA — Clovis West High School Girls rallied from an early 1-3 deficit, then persevered over cross-town rival Clovis High, 9-7, after the score was tied 4-4 at half and 6-6 at the end of three quarters.
With the win, Clovis West won it’s 13th Central Division I Sectional, but first in the past four years, after losing the last three finals to Clovis. The Teams shared the regular season League Championship with identical 9-1 records, having split their home and away contests against each other.
At the outset, the Clovis Cougars, the #1 Seed, took a 2-1 First Quarter lead on the quick reactions of Seniors Callie Woodruff and the Vuori sisters, McKayla and Trystyn. Trystyn led with a drawn ejection, then assisted to Woodruff’s first goal on a player-up, after McKayla had started off with the first steal and Woodruff had started off with a field block and a draw by herself. (b~note: an unknown quantity, Woodruff was a Senior beginning-of-year transfer from Houston, TX).
The only Clovis defensive mistake early was when Senior Adie Collard was ejected — it did not result in a point for the home team — but the gloom of the major foul, and perhaps other circumstances, put her into a “shell of silence” for the balance of the game. (b~note: I personally think it was West’s strong defense that kept her “quiet,” as she was the highest-ranked returning KAI~Cal-HI All-American from Central Section — so they pressed her tightly throughout the contest).
West did not get on the board until 1:01, an outside shot by Senior Madeline Loggins assisted by Junior Caitlyn Snyder. Then Clovis High’s Woodruff ended the frame with a penalty goal at :41.
Clovis intensity maintained until halftime, with a Trystyn Vuori cross-cage goal, assisted by Sophomore Abby Mammen, and a quirky empty-net counter by Senior Raylene McVicar, assisted by Woodruff when Clovis West Senior Goalkeeper Hannah Duggins came out to try for a steal. (b~note: although not known at that time, it was Duggins’ only mistake of the first three Quarters as she displayed 7 blocks and 2 steals until her penalty foul in the Fourth Quarter — but more on that later).
The highlight in the Second Quarter for Clovis West was the aggressive emergence of Seniors Allyson Clague and Annabelle Magdalena coupled with Junior Lisa Moreno and Sophomores Lauren Cotton and Abby Samansky. The latter won two sprints and had 2 steals, and Magdaleno had 2 steals coming off the bench. Moreno had 2 steals as well, scored a penalty goal when Woodruff was called for the penalty foul, assisted to Loggins (who had a sweet sweep shot goal) and drew the final ejection of the half, which resulted in a Snyder assist to Clague for the goal on the player advantage, 4-4 tie.
The Third Quarter was all Clovis West for six minutes, Snyder assisting to Cotton early on, then Snyder with a lob goal, unassisted, about halfway through the frame. Even though West suffered 4 kickouts, they didn’t give up a goal as Duggins blocked 2 shots and Magdalena 1 field block. Late in the Quarter, Clovis’ Vuori and Woodruff overcame second majors to remain in the game; sprinter Junior Shelby Vidmar assisted to Woodruff for an inside off-the-water goal at :59 and drew a 5m penalty shot with :01. Woodruff converted the penalty goal, again 6-6, level scores.
Entering the Fourth Quarter, West continued their intensity, whilst Clovis managed little to counter.
Snyder, a lefty, released from the right flat with a perfect wet pass to set, and center forward Loggins drew a kickout; on the first power play, left forward Moreno assisted Snyder. Shortly thereafter, Snyder assisted Moreno for a second power play goal.
Clovis battled back, earning two penalty shots midway through the quarter. The first was a result of a Goalkeeper foul preventing a ‘sure goal’ — after her teammate Snyder had made a steal but threw an errant back-pass to GK Duggins. Unfortunately for the home team/crowd, the first shot, taken by Woodruff, found the post and spun out harmlessly… then the next, drawn by Mammen, taken by Collard, hit the crossbar… both results = no goal.
Shortly following, a final Clovis West assist from Snyder resulted in the team’s final goal by Loggins, who lead her team with 3 goals. The 9-6 lead ‘sealed the deal,’ and the late lob goal at :31 by substitute Junior Anna Brazili was only a consolation.
Post game interviews:
#7 Clovis West, Ally Clague, 1 goal, 3 steals, when asked about game preparation: “I’m proud of all 13 players on this team. To play together. To win. Coach set up plays for us to focus (on our opponent), to work together on what to do (in those situations).”
#3 Clovis West, Maddie Loggins, 3 goals, when asked about determination: “We just had to keep our poise. No doubt. Stay tough to the end — keep effort up to the final horn. We did it, and we’re super excited and super blessed to have it (the championship) back with us!”
#4 Clovis, Callie Woodruff, led both teams with 4 goals, 1 assist, 1 field block: she was introspective, but uplifting, “Everyone gave their all. Some of us on both teams will be here next year with the new Cal State University, Fresno Varsity Women’s Water Polo program — so for that I’m excited for next year already.”
#10 Clovis West, Lisa Moreno, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 steals, when asked about mental preparation: “We just had to keep believing in our team, keep a positive attitude, and ‘fight on’ no matter what. I think we did that — we hustled the entire game. Wow! We worked so hard these past 3 years.”
#6 Clovis West, Caitlyn Snyder, 2 goals, 5 assists, 2 steals: “I’m just astonished right now! I’m very happy for our team. We’ve been working hard for three years to accomplish this feat and win this Championship!”
CONGRATULATIONS and HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all!