2016 CIF-CS Div I Final

November 19, 2016
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Introductions: Clovis West, white caps, and Clovis, blue caps.

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.

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Clovis West Cheerleading squad encourages the West well-wishers.

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.

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Tension mounts with both teams after three Quarters.

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.

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Victorious Clovis West with their 2016 Championship hardware!

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!


2016 CIF-CS Div II Final

November 19, 2016
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Host El Diamante, green caps, introduced with Redwood, white caps.

Visalia, CA — Storming out to a 3-0 first quarter and 5-1 halftime lead, El Diamante High School Girls resurfaced with their first CIF Central Section Water Polo Championship in the past seven years, 10-4 over rival Redwood High School.

The win climaxed a 28-3 season in which the “El D” Miners captured their 4th Sectional “Valley” Title, (most recent was 2009), while sharing the West Yosemite League (WYL) Title, (10-2 League), with the Hanford HS Girls.

I thoroughly enjoyed the efforts by both teams — and the score likely would’ve been a lot closer if it weren’t for great defensive pressure by the Miners in forcing 8 shots harmlessly off the goalposts and 5 shots wide of the mark completely. Of the 16 on target, 12 were blocked or tipped by Lauren Hooyer, Junior Goalkeeper, who only allowed 4 into the net. Two goals that kept the Redwood Rangers in the game early were by Senior Co-Captain McKenzie Darnell, but alas, those were not enough to get back from the 3-0 and 5-1 deficits.

Senior Tri-Captain Makenzie Huskey  led all scorers with 7 goals and 3 steals, an ejection drawn and a penalty foul drawn. Her penalty score and two lobs from the right side set the tone for the game early. One lob was from 6m on a direct free throw, the other on a counter, to go with a third lob score in the Third Quarter (assisted by Junior Devon Greenall, who also scored on a lob in the Fourth Quarter).

According to Huskey, “Our team was so confident, thanks to preparation by our coaches (Robert Young, Head Coach with his Assistant Coach Darcie). We wanted it bad.” (b~note: hearing Makenzie usually powers it in — but I love good lobs, and these were great — so I asked, why now?). “Yeah, I never really shoot lobs, but I saw they were ‘open,’ so I let them go,” she answered. Perfect tactic; perfect timing; perfect arc.

Ms. Huskey’s final two scores were both off of assists from classmate Sarid “Andi” Morales, who was winning three sprints and drawing two ejections herself to go along with her great defense.

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Exuberant El Diamante reacts to final horn of their Championship Season.

“We’ve been wanting it for four years,” exclaimed Morales post-game. “It was back in our pool — so we were in our element. After our first WYL Title for us Seniors, it is also our first Valley Title! We’re so excited!”

Morales had drawn an ejection late in the Third Quarter, so her team lined up with a player advantage to start the Fourth. She sprinted, won, then drove unmarked toward goal. She got the ball back too late to get a shot off, instead drew a foul, then dished a clean dry-pass assist to Huskey for the insurmountable 8-3 lead. When questioned about the inability to score on the drive, her positive comment: “You know, they were on my back, I just tried to get a foul because I knew my teammates would be there to cover.” (And they were — all game!)

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El Diamante with their Central Section Championship ballcaps.

Although excluded late in the game with three personal faults, Senior Tri-Captain Jizzell Fernandez also had a great game on defense along with Hooyer, Huskey, Greenall, Morales, and other contributing teammates: Senior Tri-Captain Chelsea Battle, Senior Allison Baker, along with Juniors Aubrey Nunes and Isabella Anderson. Nunes had a field block and 3 ejections drawn from her set position, Anderson had a field block and 1 assist — her assist was to Baker, who had 2 steals and 2 goals in the late going to ice the game.

Additional Side Note: although I did not attend the Div III Final, (game time was same start as Div I, different venue),  the Mt. Whitney Girls Varsity prevailed by a score of 8-4 over Reedley High for the school’s second Valley Title. (Their first was back in 2011).

 


2016 CIF-SJS Div II Playoffs

November 12, 2016

Last year, 2015 November, I was fortunate to attend all Semi-Finals in SJS – Div I, II, and III. I was impressed with all twelve teams, but especially impressed with two in particular — Div I’s Davis Senior HS, Davis, CA, and Div III’s El Capitan HS, Merced, CA. Both teams won their Semi to advance, but lost in the Sectional Finals.

Although I couldn’t go to these Divisionals this year, I still followed their progress on the SJS website bracket updates, and was pleased that both teams rebounded season long to capture their respective titles, Davis in Div I and El Capitan in Div II (They were moved up a notch due to their continued development/experience/progress, I suppose, but it’s never easy to move into a tougher bracket).

This article focuses on my NFHS Video review of the three Div II games — Quarter Finals, Semi-Finals, and Finals — televised live-stream and recorded by the El Capitan Gaucho Network on the National High School Sports Network (NFHS).

Since El Cap drew a bye in the first round as #1 seed, the opening game, Friday November 4, 2016, was against #8 Bear Creek HS Bruins. The Gauchos took a five goal lead in the First quarter, 7-2, to cruise to an 18-9 victory. Marion Carpenter and Madison Nolan led El Capitan with 4 goals apiece, with Metztli Enriquez, Mackenzie Wenham and Hope Stokes with 3 goals each. Stokes had 3 assists with Carpenters’ 2 assists on offense; aside from Goalie Toni Perez making a few key blocks, Stokes led the team on defense with 4 steals and 2 field blocks.

Field Player Hope Stokes has proven herself as the key team leader of El Capitan. And for both assisting and scoring, to see is to believe…
If you would like to watch a 1-minute highlight clip of Bear Creek vs. El Capitan HS Girls Water Polo in the CIF-SJS D-II Quarter-Final, played at Merced CA, click on the below link:

https://shar.es/1INqiW

The first video, Quarterfinals, was easy to see #’s and easy to follow, as the announcers were great for both play-by-play and color commentary. (The full game is available).

This information is sent sent to you using ShareThis (http://www.sharethis.com), as a courtesy of NFHS, the High School Sports Network. Full videos are available on line for NFHS members.

The Div II Semi-Finals were at Tokay HS, Lodi CA, where El Cap met #4 seed Lodi HS Flames, Wednesday, November 9, 2016. The Gauchos jumped to a 4-0 Quarter and 7-0 Halftime lead, then as wide a spread as 10-0 in the third before cruising to the 13-5 win. Goalkeeper Perez had 6 blocks, 1 steal, and Stokes had 4 steals and 1 field block to lead the defense. The second video, Semi-Finals, had lots of sun glare, was as easy to see numbers, so the announcers got the players wrong multiple times. None the less, the scoring I captured to notes was: Nolan, 4 goals, 2 assists, 1 draw, 1 steal; Enriquez, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 draws; Wenham, 1 goal, 1 steal; Alex Jasso, 1 goal; Stokes, 4 goals, 1 draw, 3 steals, 1 field block. Next up: The Finals!

 

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Screen capture of 2016 CIF-SJS Div II Final provided by Apple software and courtesy NFHS.

Follow the link as shown above or click here to go to the game:

http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/el-capitan-high-school-merced-merced-ca/e7035dee2d

My synopsis: The Div II Final, held at Woodcreek HS, Roseville CA, featured #1 El Capitan Gauchos versus #3 Del Oro Golden Eagles. This third video, taken Saturday, November 12, 2016, shows a classic win for El Capitan — winning their first CIF-SJS Title, 7-4. Although it’s a ‘widescreen’ format, most of the action is clear, the Gauchos taking the  1-0 lead with with :01 left in the First Quarter off of a lob by Senior star Metztli Enriquez. The Eagles tied the score first possession of the Second, only to have the Gauchos bounce back for a 3-1 Halftime lead on goals by Senior lefty Marion Carpenter, extra assisted by classmate Hope Stokes, then by Stokes, assisted by another Senior, Madison Nolen. Nolen lead all scorers in the assist department with 3. You may have a hard time following unless you know the players by style and accomplishments. The announcers, unfortunately, are not very audible/understandable, and often the video camera technician was unable to quickly adjust from backcourt to frontcourt, so a few key plays are missed.

El Capitan’s Team Captain, Hope Stokes, led all goal scorers with 3 — and her 2 in the Third Period gave the Gauchos a 6-2 lead before the Eagles soared back with 2 to end the frame, 6-4. But then, any comeback-potential high was exhausted when Senior Alexandria Jasso provided the lone insurance goal in the Fourth Quarter to close out the scoring. Game over. Championship won! Final season record: 24 wins – 6 losses. Congratulations, El Capitan High School Girls Water Polo Team!

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Victorious El Capitan Players, with Coach Kristie Dunham standing back row, center, following ceremonial dunking! Copyright 2016 Robert Schlie, MaxPreps

Above image shown ©2016 Robert Schlie with permission of MaxPreps.com. For a full review of photographer Robert Schlie’s Championship Game portfolio, should you wish to purchase this or any other great photos, click on the below link:

http://www.maxpreps.com/photo/thumbnails.aspx?photogalleryid=e3c3ee3d-fc02-4728-9156-d158ec736ced

Additional Side Note: Div I #1 seed Davis pounded their opponents: 13-1 over Vintage in the Quarters, 12-2 over Lincoln-S in the Semis, and 20-4 over Oakdale in the Finals.