2016 CIF-SDS Finals

February 28, 2016

Saturday, February 27, was a great day for CIF Finals in Girls Water Polo, both in the Southern Section (SS) and the San Diego Section (SDS). Although I would like to have been able to report on both, no such luck, but it was a pleasure to be in La Jolla at the Coggin Family Aquatic Center —  a beautiful setting to crown four SDS Champions, two of whom I witnessed, in order to evaluate teams and players — since  I missed those folks earlier in the week of semi-finals.

Division III:

Top two seeds, Hilltop and Serra, were both ready to battle for their respective school’s first-ever CIF titles in Girls Water Polo. From this neutral observer, it appeared that each team had a case of the jitters, but in two different halves of play.

The Hilltop Lancers had a wonderful first half, scoring at will and taking a strong 7-2 lead. Due to great team defense, their goalie, Daniela Diaz-Grade, had no threats, no saves. The goalkeeper on Serra Conquistadores, Elizabeth Ferreira, on the other hand, was pummeled. Out of eight shots, seven went in and one missed the cage. Goals were scored by the star #2, Sophia Espinoza, who ended with 2 goals, 4 steals, and drew a critical penalty shot, and #9, Senior Priscila Rude, 1 goal, and a second critical penalty shot. The only thing was, along with her 8 saves in the second half, Ferreira blocked both 5-meters as well! And her team scored and scored, with 2 goals each by Tristan Langley and Savana Vander Schuit. Unfortunately for Serra’s second half shutout, the three first half goals by Junior Mildred Monsivias and eight second half saves by Diaz-Grade, sent Serra to Runner-up status, and Hilltop to the Championship.


Hilltop’s #3 Mildred Monsivias scores her third goal on a lob, the eventual game-winner.

Division II:

And what a great game this was! Just like Division III, Division II featured two new teams never having won a CIF Title, Mar Vista and Scripps Ranch. In this case, both teams came out at a top-varsity-level of play the entire game, unlike the DIII contest, which appeared J.V. at times.

Pre-game comments from Scripps Ranch Head Coach, A.J. Farrell: “We’re in the Final. We expected to be here. (Others might not have.) In the Quarter-Finals, we needed to ‘send a message.’ We did. In the Semi-Finals, we needed to remind ourselves, ‘this is our time.’ Now, for the Finals, our players just need to ‘believe in our system.’ (That would be the UCLA Coach John Wooden system of ‘fundamentals, conditioning, teamwork’ — with these three things, teams succeed!)

From the outset of the game, it was apparent that the Scripps Ranch Falcons did believe, jumping out to a 5-1 lead early into the second quarter with 3 goals from Senior Co-Captain Hannah Erbe-Smith and 2 goals and an assist from Junior Set Stephanie Soto, while Senior Goalkeeper Samantha Runyon racked up 7 saves and a long-ball assist to Soto. (Runyon ended up with 12 saves for the match.) Unfortunately, midway through the third, with the Falcons up 6-5, star player Erbe-Smith was ruled out for the remainder of the game on three personal faults, and neither Soto nor Runyon nor the rest of the team, including five more Seniors, could contribute to add points to salvage a win. At that point, the Mar Vista Mariners juggernaut pushed into gear, with Senior Co-Captains #3 backdoor Stephanie Morales, 2 goals, #6 attacker Isabelle Hastings, 3 goals, 3 assists, 4 sprints, leading the way, along with Junior driver Daniele Pena, 2 goals, 2 steals. And let’s not forget the outstanding back line saves by Junior Sarah Carr — ten total, seven in the second half!


Mar Vista Mariners rejoice in their school’s first-ever CIF Water Polo Championship.

Post-game comments from Mar Vista #6, Senior Co-Capt Isabelle Hastings, who had assists to both the game-tying and game-winning goals: “Wow. It’s overwhelming. For five of us, our Senior Year — we achieved out goal! It didn’t matter that we were down early — we came back! (Last year we had made it to Semi-Finals, but missed this opportunity.) We had positive energy. I think it was all of our fans love and encouragement that helped us to continue to play better — then finally win!”

Post-game comments from Mar Vista #20, Junior Daniele Pena, who had the game tying goal in the third quarter: “We did it! This Team accomplished everything we set out to…before the fourth quarter, we just said, ‘this is it. We tied it up in the third. Let’s stick to it and win!'”

For the record, Division I:

Top seed Vista High School (23-9) continued its winning ways by dispatching Fallbrook High School (21-10) by a score of 7-4. Vista Championship goals were scored by Senior Samantha Witt, 3, Juniors Emma Franck, 2, Kaylee Hughes, 2. Fallbrook scoring: MacKenzie Montgomery, 2, Taylor Dowden, 1, Jazmin Patterson, 1.

Also, for the record Open Division:

The Bishop’s School (26-6) beat top seed and cross-town rival La Jolla High School (25-5) in a defensive struggle by a score of 5-4, also earning the school back-to-back CIF-SDS Open Division Championships. (…interesting to note, La Jolla’s defensive strategy was to ‘hold Bishop’s to a handful’ of goals. They did. Sometimes life plays out in similar ways; you do your best, but it is not enough. My hope is all stay positive — and seek the next challenge.)

Goal scorers for Bishop’s: Robyn Carter, 2, Natalie Grayson, Lily Keck, Kayleigh Schultz, 1 each; La Jolla: Ciara Franke, Sydney Boland, Lexi Atwell, Karli Canale, 1 each.

Goalkeeper saves for Bishop’s: Cassidy Ball, 15; La Jolla: Bennett Bugelli, 9.

2016 CIF-SDS Semi-Finals

February 26, 2016

Between all 8 Semi-Finals in the San Diego Sectionals, the ‘game of the playoffs’ this far was the Open Division, Game 2 nightcap on Thursday, February 25th, between Carlsbad HS, ranked number 3, and The Bishop’s School, ranked number 2. Not surprising, since this was the second year of the Open, pitting the top eight teams in SDS based on power rankings…


Carlsbad (white) versus Bishop’s (dark).

This game met the spectator’s expectations, as it was always within a point or two for the duration of the game — and 7-7 with :04 on the clock when Head Coach Doug Peabody called timeout for Bishop’s. In lieu of putting the Goalie at half tank to initiate play, Cap #5 Robyn Carter, a most accurate passer, was able to arc the ball toward the 2-meter line for either #6 Natalie Grayson, #7 Georgia Gilmore, or #8 Kayleigh Schultz, camped just in front of the goal. What happened next was a complete surprise to the C-bad goalkeeper, Erin Vaupel, as she ‘reached sky’ for the original pass, then sank as Schultz tipped in the ‘shot’ with a flick of her wrist for the game-winner.

Goalie Cassidy Ball of Bishop’s led the Bishop’s defense, shutting out Carlsbad in the first quarter and logging 12 saves in the match. Grayson, Gilmore, Schultz and Robyn Carter had two goals each for the victors. For the vanquished, Taylor Onstott had 3 goals, 4 steals, Bella Schmidt had 2 goals, 1 assist, Megan Phillips had 1 goal, 2 assists, and courtney Cox had a goal, an assist and a steal. Although down 3-4 at half and 5-6 at third’s end, Carlsbad was able to take a short lived 7-6 lead midway through the fourth prior to a late goal by Carter to tie and the :02 goal by Schultz to win.

The Open Division, Girls Water Polo Game 1 Semi, was upset-minded Valhalla HS against the top seed, La Jolla HS.

Unfortunately, this game did not meet with Valhalla’s desires as LJHS jumped out to a 4-0 first quarter and 8-0 halftime lead before Valhalla came untracked to tie the second half 6-6 for the net result, La Jolla 14-6 over Valhalla. La Jolla’s hot shooters with multiple goals included Sydney Boland and Lexi Atwell, 3 each, with Ciara Franke and Karli Canale, 2 each. For Valhalla, Gabby Martinez, Shayne Hill and Spencer Samuel got in the groove with goals in the second half.

Pre-game comments from Valhalla Head Coach Page Small: “This was our second year in Open. Last year we were the number 2 seed against 7 seed, Carlsbad, but the ‘power rank’ was in it’s early stages. Although they beat us, we were honored to be in the ‘Elite Eight’ of San Diego Girls High School Water Polo. This year, the ‘power rankings’ were better, especially since we beat Division I top seed, Vista, but lost twice to Westview, sot getting them as our opponent in the Quarterfinals, our 5 vs 4 bonus game, was an unexpected loss by them, but awesome for Valhalla! So, in the end, a SDS ‘Final Four’ as this season’s culmination is the best for our young team.”


Valhalla (white) takes on top seed La Jolla (dark) at sunset.

Post-game comments from La Jolla Head Coach Keller Phelps: “We’ve been working on our Team Defense all year. We watched the Westview-Valhalla game and knew that to win we would have to hold them to a ‘handful of goals.’ Our double- and triple-teaming at set was ‘on’ and we shut Valhalla out in the first half. Not sure about either Bishop’s or Carlsbad as our Finals opponent–either will be tough. Bishop’s has a lot of swim-motion; Carlsbad does a better post-up slide. For either, we just have to score and hold them to another ‘handful.'”

Division I

A day earlier, in other Semi-Final games 24 February, San Diego Division I top seed Vista clobbered Torrey Pines 11-6 and number 2 Fallbrook outlasted number 6 Rancho Buena Vista 7-5. Since I was fortunate to be able to attend D-I Semis, here is a short synopsis:

  • The Vista Panthers, led by Juniors top scorer Emma Franck (5 goals) and goalkeeper Xochiie (pronounced Sochi) Torres (5 saves), jumped out to 4-1 first quarter and 7-2 halftime leads before wearing down the Torrey Pines Falcons in game 1 of D-I Semis. Although Torres only had a handful of saves, three of them were on point blank 1-v-1 attempts that emotionally drained the life out of the Falcons. Also to mention, Senior Samantha Witt had a goal, two assists and three steals.
  • In the nightcap SDS D-I Semi, the Fallbrook Warriors had a 7-2 lead early in the fourth quarter, only to survive a three-goal barrage and scare from the Rancho Buena Vista Longhorns, where both goalkeepers, Jordan Heimback and Taylor Becerra, played outstanding! Fallbrook was paced by Jasmine Patterson with a drive-in goal, then a sweep shot goal off a clean wet pass assist from Taylor Dowden, who also had a drive-in goal and a direct-freethrow from outside 5-meter; RBV was relying on 2-meter sets Senior Megan Coffin and Freshman Sarah Funfshilling early on, but they were shut down by the Warrior defense. Then, at the end, it got interesting. Sophomore Morgan Goodrich had three steals, one setting up Senior Ginal Corpora assist to her classmate Cheyenne Elton, followed by two more 6-on-5s with goals by Junior Casey Frame, assist Funfshilling, and a nice sweep shot by Coffin to end the game on an ‘up note.’

Earlier Semi-Finals, results for the record, although yours truly did not attend:

  • Division II, 23 Feb, number 1 Mar Vista 4-3 over number 4 Clairemont; number 2 Serra 8-5 over number 3 Olympian
  • Division III, 22 Feb, number 1 Hilltop 12-3 over number 4 Point Loma; number 2 Scripps Ranch 7-2 over number 3 West Hills

2016 South Bay Girls Water Polo

February 12, 2016

With distinct pleasure, yours truly was able to attend more that a fair share of Girls High School water polo games in the South Bay, Los Angeles, for a variety of both inter-league, Bay and Ocean League matches. These would include:

  • Peninsula at El Segundo, PVPHS win
  • El Segundo at Redondo Union, RUHS win
  • Redondo Union at Mira Costa, RUHS win
  • Santa Monica at El Segundo, SMHS win
  • Redondo Union at Peninsula, RUHS win
  • Torrance at El Segundo, ESHS win
  • Mira Costa at Redondo Union, MCHS win

All of the above games hit the mark for top sportsmanship and great play by each team. My South Bay power ranking is as follows:

  1. Santa Monica — a bevy of drivers and shooters kept the counter-attack at full speed, definitely a CIF Finalist — as top seed, positioned to win. OCEAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONS.
  2. Mira Costa — led by Team Capt. Kaylee Brownsberger, game-changer when she’s on. If this team plays smartly, will make CIF Final Four in D3. BAY LEAGUE CHAMPIONS.
  3. Redondo Union — raised itself at five notches from last year, upset Mira Costa in an away game, their first Bay League victory at the Costa pool. BAY RUNNER-UP.


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.

KAI~Cal-Hawai’i Girls HS ALL-AMERICA

June 24, 2015

The 2014-2015 school year draws to a close with the announcement of the KAI~Sports California-Hawai’i ALL-AMERICA lists for high school girls competing in both the fall of 2014-through spring of 2015. Congratulations from KAI~Sports!

Use the links on the right to go to the KAI~Sports web site, kaisports.org

Although not a watershed year (like last year) for new school representation, there were still a handful to call out as “first timers” for this past year:

Beckman HS, Tustin, CA: Nikki Daurio

Bella Vista HS, Fair Oaks, CA: Abigail Fulton, Hana Zari, Miranda Williams

El Capitan HS, Merced, CA: Hope Stokes

Foothill Technology, Irvine, CA: Ariana Singer, Lezly Plahn

Hillcrest HS, Riverside, CA: Samantha Malouff, Madison Mayes, Alyssa Gonzalez

Kalani HS, Honolulu, O’ahu, Hawai’i: Lisa Namatame

Leilehua HS, Leilehua, O’ahu, Hawai’i: Amber Hamil

Mar Vista HS, Imperial Beach, CA: Isabelle Hastings

McNair HS, Stockton, CA: Diamond Tennis

Mt. View HS, Mountain View, CA: Daniela Turner

Waialua HS, Waialua, O’ahu, Hawai’i: Lilia DeWilde

Willow Glen HS, San Jose, CA: Hannah Vaughn-Hulbert, Jasmine Yaghutiel, Kelly Failner

KAI~Cal-HI Girls HS Water Polo All-Americans for 2013-2014

June 11, 2014

The KAI~Cal-HI listing for Girls High School Water Polo is posted.

Check the link on the right and go to KAI~Polo

As you will see, the biggest change this past year is that the field selections increased over the goalkeepers. This is not to say that the goalies were not as good as last year, but perhaps, since they were not rated as highly by the sectionals/divisionals.

The main interest item to note, at least on the California side, is that there are now 216 high schools (out of many, many more) that have key players selected to either the TOP TEN TEAMS or HONORABLE MENTION lists. New to the lists are 18 high schools which allow us to eclipse the two-hundred mark on the fly:

Carlmont HS, Belmont, CA (CIF-CCS) – Kristen Denney (11)

Chino HS, Chino, CA (CIF-SJS) – Alexa Cardenas (12) and Maddie Meza (10)

Downey HS, Modesto, CA (CIF-SJS) – Carly Wickman (12)

Edison HS, Huntington Beach, CA (CIF-SS) – Delaney Cleveland (12)

Granada HS, Livermore, CA (CIF-NCS) – Greta Kohlmoos (12)

Helix Charter HS, La Mesa (CIF-SDS) – Patricia Miller (12)

Kimball HS, Tracy, CA (CIF-SJS) – Jhacky Romero (11)

La Sierra HS, Riverside, CA (CIF-SS) – Rabecca Moreno (12)

Mayfield HS, Pasadena, CA (CIF-SS) – Ellie Karl (11)

Mission Viejo HS, Mission Viejo, CA (CIF-SS) – Allie Moore (12)

Nevada Union HS, Grass Valley, CA (CIF-SJS) – Nicole Blaney (12)

Orange Lutheran, Orange, CA (CIF-SS) – Kelsey Tyler (10) [transfer from Santiago/Corona]

Pacifica HS, Garden Grove, CA (CIF-SS) – Caroline Thorne (11) [transfer from Yorba Linda]

Rosary HS, Fullerton, CA (CIF-SS) – Katherine Tijerina (11)

Royal HS, Thousand Oaks, CA (CIF-SS) – Jenna Hurst (10)

Santa Ynez HS, Santa Ynez, CA (CIF-SS) – Leah Parlato (11)

Saratoga HS,  (CIF-CCS) – Nikki De Roos (12)

Segerstrom HS, Santa Ana, CA (CIF-SS) – Melissa Osorio (12), Justine Mills (11), Nathania Cuevas (12)

CONGRATULATIONS to all these and more!


2013 CIF-NCS Girls Finals

November 16, 2013

Finally a refreshing trip to visit NCAL for the CIF-NCS Girls HS Water Polo finals, witnessing both Division I and II championships, held at Acalanes HS in Lafayette, CA. And it was especially nice to spend the weekend with my oldest daughter Kamille and our first grandchild, Grandson Parker. I’m now a proud “Papa Kel,” but back to the great Polo…


Site of the CIF-NCS Water Polo Championship Finals


CIF-NCS D1, San Ramon Valley Wolves vs Monte Vista Mustangs

The SRV Wolves were clearly the class of the NCS finishing undefeated at 27-0 and winning their League and Division and finishing as the top team in the North and East Bay Section of the CIF! It just didn’t matter as the score appeared close, with SRV prevailing, 9-6. The real story was the way their total Team balance held the Mustangs at bay. Junior Kai~Sports All-American Kat Klass was keenly clamped by the strong defensive strategy of Monte Vista, but balanced scoring by Freshman Sarah Klass, Senior Allison Williams and Freshman Sophie Kuester put the two-time defending Champions up 3-0. If not for a goal by Monte Vista’s McKenna Miller, it would’ve likely been a shutout for a quarter. In the second frame, the Wolves extended their lead to 6-2, looking like a runaway, with Freshman lefty Attacker Alexis (Lexi) Liebowitz scoring on a cross-goal counter and Kat assisting her sister Sarah, followed by Sarah Klass assisting Kuester. Overall, the Frosh for SRV dominated the defense, as their Freshman Goalkeeper Marissa Webb blocked some tough shots, including a one-v-one early in the third. In that period, Kat Klass finally got free to score an outside shot , appearing to put the game away, 7-3, but that was not the case, as Mustang Junior Mackenzie Flath scored to keep it close.
“In the fourth, we regrouped, and our girls were able to run a couple of great plays,” commented MV Head Coach Scott Turner following the game. “But it just wasn’t enough, and they’ve had a great team this year.” MV was led by three goals from Junior Courtney Fahey and outstanding goalkeeping by Senior Mimi Harris.
In the end, the class of this game was Sarah Klass, finishing with 3 goals and 2 assists in the win.


CIF-NCS D2, Campolindo Cougars vs Miramonte Mustangs

The game in this Division was a blow out, with the Cougars, led by Senior Co-Captains Annika Jensen and Natalie Seidemann, blowing away the inferior Mustangs by a lopsided 19-6. The win in this Division also capped an NCS-three-peat. Jensen led all scorers with 7 goals (utility) from all over the pool, but was followed closely by Seidmann, who finished with 6 goals herself from the set position (center forward). It’s interesting to note that the Campolindo record of 24-3 was tops in NCS except for their three losses to San Ramon Valley. Miramonte finished with a respectable 20 wins and 7 losses.
Congrats to all!

Girls Water Polo – CIF Southern Section (CIF-SS) completes Finals for 2013

February 23, 2013

CDMcrownFor the first time, CIF-SS combined all 7 Divisional Finals at the same site on the same day. Previously, some of the sites, due to geographical needs, were allowed to be in a different county. I can say, personally, that it was a great experience for all participants, officials and spectators that were able to witness an event of such magnitude — truly an accomplishment of diversity of high school sizes for CIF-SS. On the same day the CIF-SDS awarded three titles, CIF-SS awarded seven:

Division VII

Hemet poses for Team Photo after CIF win.

Hemet poses for Team Photo after CIF win.

The Hemet Bulldogs won the first game of the Finals with a 6-2 defensive stand against the Ocean View Seahawks. The top seeded Seahawks just kept mission goals — “we’re gonna remember the missed opportunities.” Head Coach Melissa Fernandez. The bulldogs, on the other hand, had hot goaltending from Senior Tabitha Del Carmen — “Yes, she had a great game and season, which was especially good since she didn’t play the previous two years very much due to health reasons.” Assistant Coach Brad Viereck.

Division VI

Yorba Linda can barely contain themselves!

Yorba Linda can barely contain themselves!

The second game was more defense than offense also, as Yorba Linda took a 4-1 lead entering the fourth quarter against Pacifica and held on for the 5-2 win. Head Coach Jeff Gorman: “We preach defense, and they delivered!” Sophomore 2MD Brittany Amaya: “We practice hard every day. We prepare for these close game situations.” They prepared well! It was Yorba Linda High’s first Girls CIF Title in school history.

Division V

The Championship Rings and their long season need of a home pool didn’t happen for the Riverside Poly Bears this time — but it did happen for the Crescenta Valley Falcons as they applied the afterburners to coast to a five goal 9-4 win. According to Poly Head Coach and friend Mike Cardey, “We’re disappointed, but we’re a young team, and our new pool is completed next week (finally).”

Crescenta Valley Seniors are all smiles.

Crescenta Valley Seniors are all smiles.

Falcons goalie, Senior Gabriel Isaccson, kept the Bears in check most of the game. ‘Wow. We worked so hard to finally get here! We’re just so mind blown right now. It’ll hit me tomorrow…”

Division IV

For the La Serna Lancers and Troy Warriors — it was the first time in the Girls CIF Water Polo Final.

CIF-SS Finals -- large crowds

CIF-SS Finals — there were large crowds at every game — this was La Serna vs Troy.

In one of the most entertaining games of the day, both teams had many counters and many opportunities. In the end, it was Troy who came from down 2-4 to take a 5-4 lead in the third and put the game away in the stretch, 9-5. Senior Co-Captain Alison Lany scored the final three goals of the match to give her 80 goals for the year. “We stayed in position to win. Forget the score. We never had a doubt (that we would win in the end.” Assistant Coach, also friend, Jim Crowther, “They were down 2-6 in Semis too. Now in Finals, came back. They never give up.”

Troy wins!

Troy wins!

Junior Shannon Grossman, who finished with four successive goals, most from long range, to tie the game, “We just had a strong desire to win. We came out to show we were special and end the season on a good note.”

Division III

Palos Verdes won the right as a #4 seed overcoming #1 Harvard Westlake in the Semi to advance to play the #2 Los Osos Girls Grizzlies. It was a well-fought game by both teams. quote from Junior Attacker Bridget Reynolds, “Heart and Hustle!” is what did it down the stretch, as she had a field block and a steal in the first half, then the final two goals off of assists from Senior Kristen Jensen to take a 7-4 lead early in the fourth quarter. But that wasn’t the whole story. At halftime, not content to sit on a 3-3 tie, Co-Coach Eric Cypher gave a heated pep talk to the team he shares with David Merryman: “Right here, right now! It’s our game to win the second half.” Then Jensen answered with two goals early in the third, and Los Osos held on for the win. (The Boys WP Grizzlies won CIF in the Fall.)

Los Osos makes it two Titles!

Los Osos makes it two Titles!

Palos Verdes tried hard to create the equalizer and force overtime with a 6v5 goal by Sophomore Kate Roan and a wide angle lob goal by Senior Ellie D’Ambra (coincidentally her 100th goal of the year!), but fell short 6-7.

Division II

Santa Margarita appeared to be the underdog in this final, falling behind Mater Dei 4-7 at half and 5-9 mid-third period. Sydney Blubaugh had a goal and assist before she fouled out with 3 majors for Mater Dei. Then one from each team got an ejection. Then Wan was gone (Santa Marg, with her third), early in OT2, and it seemed like the table that she had set was about to get cleaned up…please realize, senior Haley Wan had scored five or six or goals, many the “seeing eye upper corner” variety, one an “offspeed low arc lob” with only :21 to go in OT1… Now the team had to rely on the depth of not one but four non-starters in their front court and 6v5 situations…and respond they did! Junior Utility Sage Pfeiffer scored a garbage off a 6v5 and senior Attacker Tessa DeRecat scored a 6v5 from the post off a clean assist from frosh Sophia Baia with :08 to play for the victory.

Division I

Final Introductions

Introductions — Corona del Mar vs Newport

Corona del Mar won a wild one in the seventh and final Final of the day in the nightcap, 6-5 over Newport Harbor. As always with these two teams, it was counterattacks galore, great defense, and even greater team and individual playmakers. This game was also pretty balanced scoring, with one exception. Senior CDM Attacker Ally McCormick was clearly game MVP with 4 goals and 3 steals, completely setting the tone for her team, with drawing an ejection and receiving a “quick” pass for a goal right before time expired in the first quarter. And this was after falling behind 0-2. In the second quarter, CDM scored three goals off counters to take a 4-3 lead at half. Even though it was an early tie by Newport’s senior defender Avery Peterson in the third quarter, CDM exploded for two more counters to take the lead and press right to the end. Great work, ladies!

South Bay High School Surfing League Championships

February 23, 2013

Well, it’s still not happening. No SBSL High School Surfers. My wife, Shelley, went with me to photograph some great surfers in some great rides — but we quickly left the Hermosa Beach Pier for El Porto (North Manhattan Beach) as there was “no contest” at the first site. There was a super age group contest going on at the second site (with great waves) — sponsored by Body Glove, then Spyder, then Dive ‘n’ Surf, but no one knows when the HS Finals will be held… (I hope you’re not as disappointed as I was…)