Vince Roeber, Yosemite High School’s new water polo coach, has a plan.
“We have spent this year focused on fundamentals,” Roeber said after a match with Selma Oct. 15. “We are setting a foundation for the future. We have a real opportunity with so many athletes joining the program, and many underclassman playing varsity this season.”
The girls team has only two seniors, Taylor Wade and Breanna McCully. There are no seniors on the boy’s team.
YHS plays in the Central Sequoia League with Selma, Exeter, Kingsburg, Sierra, Chowchilla and Dinuba.
The boys team is 2-5 in league, with two wins over Selma, and the girls are 3-4, with wins over Sierra, Chowchilla, and Dinuba.
Team splits games with Selma
Yosemite played Selma at home on Oct. 15, with the boys team winning 16-8, and the girls losing 10-8.
Peter McLean (6), and teammate Ron Luther (4), both juniors, and sophomore Stewart Burke (4) combined for 14 goals against Selma. In addition, Owen Basset scored two additional goals for Yosemite.
Leading scorers this season for the girls team have been Kailey Neal, Laura Pearson, Isabel McGoldrick, Sierra Gonzalez, Karina Lusk, and Taylor Wade.
Roeber, a California Highway Patrol officer in Mariposa who recently transferred from Barstow, is coaching both the boys and girls water polo teams this season and literally saved what has been a very successful program at Yosemite High. He came on board when it looked like the program would be forced to shut down this season because no one had come forward to coach.
“After finding out a new Yosemite coach had not been named yet, I ended up applying for the position,” Roeber said.
And he’s glad he did.
“The teams have surprised me,” Roeber said. “They continue to push and improve, and that is not always the case when you are rebuilding a program.”
Roeber is coaching both the boys and girls varsity teams. There are no JV teams this year.
With more than 40 players combined, just running a practice could be a major challenge to most coaches - but not to the experienced Hanford native, who played the game in junior high school, and for Hanford High. He later coached Hanford’s boys varsity team for seven years - twice winning the CIF D-II Central Section Championships (2004 and 2009), and once being the section runner up (2007).
“Both teams are growing and there are real signs of progress,” Roeber said. “What’s important to me is developing character, and confidence in my players. I want them to believe in themselves and know they can accomplish what they set their minds to do.”
“Coach knows what he’s doing,” said junior starter Peter McLean. “We like that he gets in the pool with us and shows us how to do stuff.”
Sophomore Lily Kuykendall, a first-year player on the girls team, is learning the game and is having a good time.
“It’s been a lot of fun learning how to play water polo, and Coach Roeber is a really nice guy,” Kuykendall said.
“I’m having a blast,” added starting freshman goalie Sophia McGoldrick.
Assisting Roeber is teacher Cari Ruhmor, who also serves as the school’s athletic trainer.
“This is a great group of student-athletes, and it is fun to watch them develop into young men and women,” Roeber said. “I’m looking forward to all these young players returning next season with more experience, and improved skills.”
Roeber and his wife, Heather, have three children, with their fourth due in December.
The Badgers play at home against Chowchilla Oct. 22 (5 p.m.), and Dinuba, Oct. 24 (11 a.m.), and end the season at Sierra on Oct. 29 (5 p.m.).