Senior Night H2O polo shutout
February 10, 2017
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The moody clouds that brought rain Tuesday morning parted over the Leonard/Waitt Family Pool at Cathedral Catholic High School by the afternoon, allowing the sun to sparkle over the water for the varsity water polo team’s 15-4 victory against the Rancho Bernardo High School.
Amid high energy and excitement from both teams on Senior Night, each senior, who was accompanied by a relative and presented with a bouquet of flowers, was introduced over the loudspeaker before the start of the game. The stands were then scattered with each girl’s bouquet in the safekeeping of their relatives before the girls hopped into the pool with their game faces on.
In the first period, RBHS won the sprint and kept steady possession of the ball, but were blocked twice from scoring. The Lady Dons quickly took over possession and lit up the scoreboard with two goals.
Back at the RBHS goal, an RBHS defender fouled Laura Larkin ‘18, allowing Larkin the opportunity to shoot a penalty. Larkin missed the shot, but CCHS rebounded and Natalie Plumb ‘17 went in for a shot and missed, but Larkin recovered the ball for a goal.
Possession bounced back and forth between the teams for the remaining time left in the first period. The RBHS managed to sneak in two shots, but CCHS still dominated the scoreboard 6-2 by the time the buzzer sounded to end the first period.
After regrouping, the teams assembled into formation for the start of the second period. With the sounds of the referee’s whistle, CCHS drove across the pool to snatch the ball in the sprint.
However, RBHS caught possession, and CCHS goalie Hannah Edwards ‘17 quickly blocked several shots before CCHS turned over the ball. Plumb charged across the pool for an assisted goal to Larkin, who raised the Lady Dons’ score yet again.
Near the CCHS goal, Sammie Lindgren ‘17 solidified the defense to prevent shots on goal, allowing her team to turn over possession without any Broncos scoring. Without a goal in the second period, the RBHS coach called timeout.
When the game resumed, the Lady Dons upheld a strong defense even as the Broncos attempted shot after shot on goal. When CCHS finally regained possession of the ball, Plumb made a drive toward to the opposite end of the pool for a goal.
With CCHS heavily leading RBHS 9-2, CCHS Head Coach Jaclyn Puccino subbed out nearly all the starting players to provide others the opportunity to play. The fresh Lady Dons matched the intensity set forth by their teammates earlier in the game by dominating possession.
CCHS player Ashley Greeven ‘18 boosted the score of the game by two points, scoring her second goal with 0:01 left in the first half.
Edwards, who blocked countless RBHS shots in the first half, only allowed two shots to slip into goal.
“I’ve been playing this game since I was in sixth grade, so I’ve had time to grow to get where I am now,” Edwards said. “It really comes down to technique and reaction time.”
In the third quarter, CCHS player Sarah Greeven ‘18 was in goal and Edwards was in the field. Sarah Greevan remained steady in goal until she could not block a shot from RBHS that barely skipped its way into the goal.
On the sidelines, commotion stirred up on the CCHS side.
Fresh off of the third Kairos retreat that returned during the game, CCHS player Sofia Palomas ‘17 rushed onto the pool deck as teammate Lyndsey Hightower ‘18 helped Palomas snap on her cap before Palomas jumped right into play.
CCHS then missed a few opportunities to score, but quickly turned over the ball. In one swift moment, Victoria Aragon ‘17 received the ball and darted across the pool without any Broncos in pursuit for a CCHS goal.
RBHS tried to get itself on the scoreboard, but Greeven blocked a high shot on goal in the final second of the third period.
With an eight goal lead over RBHS, the Lady Dons managed to shut out the Broncos in the fourth period.
But during the last period, the CCHS goal was not solely to win, but to win with every senior scoring at least one goal.
Edwards, Lindgren, and LeeAnne Bates ‘17 represented themselves on the scoreboard in the fourth period, and the Lady Dons on the sidelines mustered up some energy in the final minutes of the game to cheer on Palomas. Although she managed to attempt a few goals, she ultimately was unable to score.
By the final buzzer of the game, CCHS towered over RBHS 15-4. The team now sit 2-4 in league and 17-13 overall as they anticipate CIF.
The victory was then followed by Senior Night festivities that consisted of cake and camaraderie. Smiles lit up each girl’s face during the celebration, but the final home game was bittersweet for the senior players.
“I can’t believe this is my last game in this pool,” four-year Lady Don veteran player Plumb said.
Head Coach Puccino similarly felt the bittersweetness of Tuesday’s game.
“The fact that we were able to put all seven of our seniors in the pool at once demonstrates the strong culture we have developed on this team,” she said. “These girls are such great role models who emulate what Cathedral Catholic water polo is all about.
“We accomplished this win in a dominating fashion, which was the perfect win for Senior Night.