BuSacramento, California. After early morning clouds and cold overcast, the sun burst through for 6 great games in the Sacramento-Joaquin Section (SJS) California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) for the Division I, II, and III Finals for both boys and girls water polo. Here’s how the girls Finals went:
DIVISION I, nightcap, #1 Davis HS versus #2 St. Francis Prep
Davis Blue Devils took a 5-1 lead at halftime then pounded St. Francis Troubadors into submission, winning 14-2. High scorers were Junior Brooke Doten with 8 goals and Senior Scout Brown with 3 goals and 4 assists. Brown coupled with Senior Grace Gulsvig (2 goals) to win all four sprints, and Junior Avery Warhover led all teams with 6 assists. The passing skill and finesse exhibited by Davis vaults them into one of the top four seeds in the inaugural Northern Cal Regional. And let’s not forget defense. Aside from 3 steals from Brown and 2 steals from Warhover, stellar Davis Goalkeeper Emily Blackwell contributed 2 steals to go along with her 8 blocks, fairly uncontested due to tight pressure.
Davis 3 2 4 5 = 14
St. Francis 0 1 1 0 = 2
Post game interviews…
According to star player Scout Brown, “I thought we might have come out a little bit slow, but we definitely figured things out after the first quarter. We just got to work and corrected our play. Sometimes calls didn’t go our way, but we just had to kept our head on straight, make sure we just focused on the game. Focus on the result–getting the win.”
Head Coach Doug Wright, “We’re pleased to this point, as it was a good win tonight. As for the future, near term, I think if the seeding goes the way it might (for this first Regional), we’ll face SHP (Sacred Heart Prep, a tough CIF-CCS opponent). We’ll make it work… I think this group would like to play SHP again (we lost to them earlier in the season), get a win, and get this monkey off our back… then, this group would like to play Miramonte again (a tough CIF-NCS foe).” …Congrats on this win!
DIVISION II, mid-afternoon, #1 Rio Americano HS versus Bella Vista HS
Bella Vista Broncos, the #6 seed, arrived to the Final for the first time in school history by upsetting #3 El Capitan and #2 Tokay — and then provided a great competition in their attempt to best the top seed.
Pre-game with Bella Vista Head Coach, Thom Stanley, “It’s been a great run. You know, we beat the ‘2’ and ‘3’ seeds, wow, I couldn’t be happier right now, but we need to keep the streak going.”
Most of the game was a defensive struggle, the Broncos taking the lead twice only to give it up in the 4th quarter, falling behind 3-2 — until a great sweep shot goal by Senior Co-Captain Daphne Miller on a power play with :02 left sent the game to Overtime. In the OT, the Rio Raiders took a 5-3 advantage only to allow a tie again when Soph Tori Saenz scored a 6m direct free throw goal (right after they had one taken away for ‘delay/hesitation’). Down to the wire, Rio’s Olivia Sergeant scored a power play outside shot, drilling it into the upper right corner past Bella’s Junior Goalkeeper, Makenna Beck, who had a remarkable game with 10 blocks and 3 steals.
Rio 0 0 2 1 2 1 = 6
Bella 0 1 1 1 1 1 = 5
Post game interviews…
Rio Americano players, Soph Olivia Sergeant, “Our D grows stronger every game. We usually rotate Set D and collapse alot at set to confuse our opponents. Defense wins games, you know? I know I scored 2, but otherwise it was pretty balanced.”
“Yes, although we rotate, for this game I found myself at Set D more than normal. Dropping back helped out and probably won the game for us,” according to Frosh Gianna Nocette, who had 5 steals and 6 sprints won.
Rio Head Coach Rachel Ruano, “We have a young team — far exceeding my expectations for this year. I’m so pleased for these girls — underclassmen are changing the culture at Rio in a positive way.” …Congrats, Rio Americano!
DIVISION III, late-morning, #1 Sonora HS versus #2 Kimball HS
In what could be described as a defensive battle, although falling behind early 1-3, Sonora was able to catch up to Kimball and take the lead 5-4, until Kimball rebounded with a goal to tie at 5-5. Senior Keiana Fountaine scored 4 of the Kimball Jaguar’s goals. The final goal at :48 by Sonora Wildcat’s Junior Audrey Simmons iced the contest, complementing Sophomore Emily Van Noord’s 3 goals.
Sonora 1 0 3 2 = 6
Kimball 1 2 0 2 = 5
Post game interviews…
Head Coach Matthew Personius, “Wow, what can I say? First League Team Championship! First Sectional Team Championship!… and, as for Audrey Simmons, a first year Junior, a ‘golden moment’ to score the game winning goal!”
Then, adding to the glee, Emily Van Noord, when questioned about her team’s momentum, said “We knew we had to step it up (our discussion at halftime)…but we felt the whole time that we’d win.” …Nice.