The Yosemite High boys water polo team (11-8, 4-3 Central Sequoia League) scored a total of 36 goals in its last three games, but it was not enough as they lost matches to Sierra (11-9) and Exeter (17-10) before outscoring Selma 17-14.
The team first took on rival Sierra in a very physical match. In the first quarter, junior starting defensive hole set Justin Talley was taken out of the game with a head injury. This was a hard loss for the Badgers, but senior leadership pushed the team to keep them in the game.
With a tough loss and their teammate, the boys were determined to change things around. Senior captain Peter McLean lead the boys with 6 of 9 goals for the Badgers. Senior captain goalie Dylan Thacker added 15 more saves to his season total.
The Badgers next took on Exeter High with an eager temper to make up for the tough loss. It was not the day for the Badgers and “everything felt a little off all the way around,” senior Hunter Kahn said. With yet another tough loss of 17-10, the Badgers knew they had to make some adjustments. McLean scored 5 and Kahn with 4. Thacker added 20 blocks to his season.
The Badgers then traveled to Selma High School with a new attitude about the game. Talley returned for the Badgers after his injury, and positive attitudes returned to the pool. Out the gate, the Badgers took off with the score and never stopped. Kahn scored 8, Burke Stewart added 3, McLane and Owen Bassett notched 2, and Chandler Clarke and Sage Crosswhite both scored one.
Though the score was close at 17-14, the team was able to play all underclassman and give freshman goalie Nathaniel Mulkey a couple blocks in the net.
Lady Badgers beat Sierra three times
The Lady Badgers (8-6, 1-6 CSL) have also had a busy two weeks including a 17-6 win over Sierra right before going into the Sunnyside Tournament of Champions, where the team placed third.
“The Sunnyside Tournament was a turning point for the girls and their level of play has risen,” Coach Michelle Burton said. “They are taking more shots on goal, scoring more and trusting each other more. The girls seem more cohesive as a team and I think we will see a change for them in this last half of the season.”
First up was Sierra, where Senior Kaily Neal scored three and senior Izzy McGoldrick and junior Carina Lusk scored for the Badgers. Next was Central High School with a tough loss of 5-3, with Neal the only scorer for the Badgers.
Saturday morning was tough with an opening against Dinuba, a team the ladies lost to earlier in the season. But they pulled out a 4-3 win. For third place the team once again took on school rival Sierra for a third time in one week. Beating them yet again with a win of 13-4.
Next in league, the ladies took on Exeter with a tough loss of 14-3. Neal scored the team’s only goals. Taking on Selma was going to be a tough one for the Badgers but they gave it all they could, ending in a loss of 13-7.
Sophomore goalie Sophie McGoldrick had 15 blocks against the Bears.
The Badgers travel to Chowchilla Oct. 20 and host Sierra Oct. 27. Senior night will be Nov. 1.
Yosemite High Correspondent