Girls’ water polo romps to 20-2 finish

Chronicle Staff

Down by one goal with 18 seconds left, the girls’ water polo team turn to Ashley Grossman ’11, whose three second half goals had given the Wolverines an answer to opponent Arroyo Grande’s persistent offensive attack. She launched the shot that had been working for her all half, but couldn’t get it to go as the Eagle goalie blocked the attempt. The team got one last shot on goal with six seconds remaining, but couldn’t convert, losing 8-7 in the CIF title game against Arroyo Grande High School Saturday.

“We set up a play, and I really wanted the ball, and [Head Coach] Larry [Felix] knew that,” Grossman said. “But somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that we were losing and that I needed to take the shot, so it wasn’t how I normally would have shot it with a lot of power. I knew I had to take it, so I just shot at the first opportunity instead of waiting for something better.”

Opponent Arroyo Grande jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first 20 seconds after a Wolverine foul gave them a five meter penalty shot. The Wolverines quickly responded as Allison Vreeland ’08 scored from the perimeter a minute later, and the team stole the lead with goals from Captain Nadia Dan ’08 and Paige Dewey ’10 to make it 3-2 to end the first quarter.

Heavily guarded the entire game, Dan’s first quarter goal was her only score of the match on two shot attempts.

The team allowed two Arroyo Grande goals in the second quarter and was scoreless on seven shot attempts, giving the Eagles a 4-3 lead going into halftime.

Grossman shifted the momentum in the second half, scoring in the third quarter to tie the score at four goals a piece, and again at the start of the fourth to even the score at 5-5 after an Arroyo Grande goal. A foul on Grossman allowed the Eagles to convert a power play and steal the lead again, but Grossman made up for it, scoring at the other end to tie it back at 6-6 with five minutes left in the game.

“I felt like we needed to pick up the pace,” Grossman said. “We were trading goals, and I knew that I had to get it going and make something happen.”

The lead changed hands again when Arroyo Grande scored with three minutes left, but the Wolverines came back again when Camille Hooks ’11 evened the score at 7-7 with her first goal of the game after two blocked attempts.

Still, a second foul call on Grossman allowed for the Eagles to convert another power play, resulting in a 7-8 Wolverine deficit with two minutes left. Grossman shot twice more, but both attempts were blocked.

The team’s last chance came when Hooks intercepted a pass with six seconds left. Felix called a timeout to discuss the team’s final play, but Hooks couldn’t replicate her last goal, and her final shot was blocked as the clock wound down, handing the Wolverines only their third loss of the season.