The Yosemite High girls water polo team (16-6, 10-0 North Sequoia League) continued its record-breaking scoring season and dominance of the North Sequoia League last week with wins over Sierra and Kerman.
The Badgers beat Sierra 11-5 on Oct. 17, and Kerman 19-3 on Oct. 19. This is the first year Kerman has participated in water polo.
“Senior Carina Lusk really stepped up last week after recovering from an injury early this season, scoring two goals against Kerman and five against Kerman,” Coach Michelle Burton said. “ She played really tough defense and made some unstoppable shots on goal. Carina really stood out last week and stepped into her leadership role as an experienced player.”
Sophomores Loralee Bergdall and Ruby Smith had a good week as well.
“We were missing some players this week and these two really stepped it up,” Burton said. “Loralee was a starter and was rock solid in defense while Ruby scored her second goal of the season after dealing with a difficult injury.”
Junior Macy Bazzar also stood out last week scoring 1 goal against Sierra and 3 against Kerman. “She has been working so hard this season and I have seen so much growth from her,” Burton said.
The team played in the Buchanan Tournament over the weekend, losing to Clovis (13-6, 4-0 Tri River League) 10-5, and splitting games with Buchanan (9-7, 1-2 TRL) on a 5-4 win and a 14-7 loss. They also defeated San Joaquin Memorial (2-11, 1-2 County Metro League) in the tournament.
The team is expected to win the league championship, and be seeded high for the CIF Central Section playoffs. and the division title.
McGoldrick leads state in scoring
Not only is junior Sophie McGoldrick the team’s leading scorer with 64 goals, she is currently the No. 1 scorer in the state according to maxpreps.com.
“Sophie is a natural athlete and was our goalie prior to this year when I decided to have her play field this season,” Burton explained. I really think her experience in basketball has given her the strength and mindset needed for water polo. She is powerful and aggressive with the ball which lends itself to her season’s average of 5 goals a game and her No. 1 ranking in the state for goals (from the Grapevine North as LA has its water polo season in the winter), currently at 109.”
The No. 2 scorer is 13 goals behind McGoldrick.
“Sophie works hard in and out of the pool and is a great leader for our team,” Burton said. “She is tied for the most assists in D-III with 34 assists this season, which shows she is just as much of a team player as she is a scorer.”
The humble McGoldrick gives a lot of credit for the success of the team to hard work by everyone.
“Our team has come a long way since the beginning of the season,” McGoldrick said. “We have worked hard for our success. We have a lot of girls who can score and step up in a tight game. Our freshmen goalie, Faith Spangler, has done exceptionally well and is one of the main reasons for our success. Our coach, Michelle, gave us all the skills and motivation we need to win league. I am having a blast and couldn’t ask for better teammates.”
Behind McGoldrick in scoring is Randi Johnson and Abby Williams, also juniors, with 17 and 13 goals, respectively.
Spangler continues to be a dominant force in front of the net, with 94 saves compared to 80 goals, notching 8.5 saves a game.
“This team really works well together and they work so hard,” Burton said. “The girl’s sportsmanship and teamwork have been amazing to watch this season. I have always wanted to coach and working with this team has been nothing but fun and very rewarding.”
Boys team 2-2 in league play
For the boys team (9-12, 2-2 NSL), it was a mixed week as the team fell to Sierra (10-4, 4-0 NSL) 10-3 Sept. 26, before defeating Kerman (0-6, 0-3 NSL) 28-7 two days later.
“Helping get that win is our outstanding sophomore goalkeeper Nathaniel Mulkey, who has recorded 222 saves on the year, making him No. 3 in the state,” said Coach Patricia O’Neill. “You ask anyone on this pool deck who has improved the most they will all, hands down, say Nathaniel. He went from barely knowing the game last year, to a complete standout water polo player this season.”
Sage Crosswhite, a junior, leads the team in scoring at 43 followed by sophomore Josh Johnson with 24, and senior Justin Talley with 19.
“Sage has really stepped up this season knowing we needed the leadership,” O’Neill said.
With the return of senior Burke Stewart, O’Neill said her team has been playing better than ever, and look to score wins over league opponents Chowchilla and Sierra this week.
The teams played Chowchilla Tuesday on Senior Night and breast cancer awareness night, and play at Sierra today (Thursday).
Yosemite High Correspondent