Both the boys (3-3) and girls (2-0) water polo teams at Yosemite High School earned solid wins last week over McLane High School, as the boys won 16-13 while the girls trounced the Highlanders Knights 16-6.
The game, Sept. 6, was in new pool conditions at McLane with only 4-foot-deep water.
For the boys most of them over 6-feet tall, jumping into a short pool was a challenge, head coach Tricia O’Neill said.
Despite that, the boys came away with their first victory of the year.
Senior Hunter Kahn scored seven goals in the game, missing just one of his eight shots. Senior captains Jayden Malcolm and Peter McLean had three goals each, while Ethan McCully, Sage Crosswhite and Justin Talley each added a score.
“The best part about this game is everyone got to play,” O’Neill said.
The boys followed up that win by entering the Fresno Classic tournament, a tournament for boys teams only, on Sept. 9. Playing first against Buchanan, the boys lost 15-4, then lost to Madera High School 17-8.
“The boys came in defeated,” O’Neill said. “Granted bigger schools are good, especially in the Clovis area, but there was a lesson to be learned. They needed to realize how good they are and need to remember that we have a full team of players that can work together.”
The team definitely learned that lesson. Saturday morning, following two tough losses, they decided to change their approach and it paid off.
First taking on Selma High School, the boys beat the Bears 15-7. Next, the Badgers took on home team Fresno High, coming away with another victory 10-5.
“This was a completely different team that showed up,” O’Neill said.
Senior captain and goalkeeper Dylan Thacker notched 47 saves for the Badgers, with 16 in each Saturday game.
Kahn led the weekend with 15 total goals, McLean scored 10, and Malcolm, Stewart, and Talley had 3 each, alongside 1 for Crosswhite.
“I am very proud of these boys,” O’Neill said. “They all stepped up and have changed their attitude with the team and the game.”
Neal scores five goals
For the girls, senior captain Kaily Neal led the team with five goals. Nikki Johnson added three, while Randi Johnson, Izzy McGoldrick, and Kylee Solcum each added two scores. Lindsay Guidry and Sierra Sosa scored one goal each.
“They were able to make power plays together throughout the game which lead to great steals and shots all around,” girls head coach Michelle Burton said. “They really worked together like a well-oiled machine, and it showed.”
Burton said sophomore Sophie McGoldrick kept the goal “locked down,” while her team also played strong despite the different pool conditions.
“This win was a great one because the girls played really well, as teams do, and again showed their ability to adapt,” Burton said.
Both boys and girls teams travel to play Madera South Sept. 15, followed by a game at home against Selma on Sept. 20.
Game times are girls 4:45 p.m. and varsity boys 5:45 p.m.
Yosemite High Correspondent