Lady Falcons water polo (3-2) defeated University City High School (2-3) 8-4 at Rancho Bernardo High School on Dec. 8, placing them sixth at the Bronco Invitational hosted by RBHS.
According to TPHS head coach Tim Reed, the tournament started out easy for the Lady Falcons because they were in a weaker bracket, and proceeded to become increasingly difficult as they were matched against tougher opponents. The team’s previous victories over Valley Center High School 11-2 on Dec. 5 and Hilltop High School 17-2 on Dec. 6 led them to compete in the same bracket as UCHS.
At the start of the first quarter, a UCHS player punched left wing Shea Geary (12), who retaliated with another hit, resulting in both players’ ejections.
“Vista was extremely violent, and our coach is considering [alerting the referee and] making them take anger management classes,” right wing Sijia Zhang (10) said.
Geary’s position was replaced by left wing Shaine Sorenson (11).
“Shaine’s really good,” Geary said. “She has the intensity without the brutality that I have.”
Despite losing a key player at the start of the game, Geary’s ejection only served to motivate the Lady Falcons, and gave other players the opportunity to substitute. The game started off slow, with UCHS leading 1-0 by the end of the first quarter.
“Torrey Pines was in the CIF finals two years in a row and they’ve lost big players this year, but I’m sure they have players to step in,” UCHS head coach Daniel Ramirez said.
According to Reed, the Lady Falcons did not have a strategy, but kept the game simple by passing the ball consistently and keeping it out of the Centurions’ reach. Reed also said that when the other team had posession, TPHS “played great defense.”
The Lady Falcons gained momentum in the second quarter as set guard Maddie Ho (12) scored two goals. They pulled even further ahead of the Centurions with Anais Mathes (10) scoring four goals, keeping TPHS in the lead for the rest of the game.
“We played fairly physical and fairly good defense, and we moved the ball to the right areas,” Ramirez said. “We did not keep our composure very well and we did not finish very well.”
Left flat Natasha Rosenthal (9) scored the last goal of the game, leaving the score 8-4 for the last two minutes of the fourth quarter.
“I think it was a really good game for everyone, and everybody really stepped up a lot,” Geary said. “We played a lot better this game, with a lot more intensity. It’s a whole different team of girls, so it’s completely different from previous years.”
The Lady Falcons have lost several members this season, including whole sets Crystal Lore (12) and Michelle Martinelli (13’). The problem is remedied with new members stepping in and filling their shoes.
“This is the first tournament of the season, so we’re trying to figure out where everybody goes,” Reed said. “Our strength is that we can come together as a team and play that way.”
TPHS’ next game is against Carlsbad High School on Dec. 18.