The Madera South Stallions girls water polo team capitalized on a dominant first period, scoring seven goals, to win convincingly 14-2 against the Hoover-Fresno Patriots at Madera South.
“Overall they played really well,” Madera South head coach Miranda Perez said. “We worked on a lot of new stuff and they did apply that into the game today. Offensively it has been a struggle throughout the season, but they picked up on that really well in today’s game.”
Kevelin Pinto, Sayra Montesinos and Berenize Rangle-Tapia powered the eighth-seeded Stallions with three goals each to help down the ninth-seeded Patriots in the first round of the Div. III playoffs.
While the Madera South offense was sharp from start to finish, the goalkeeping of Jatzelle Salazar might’ve been the highlight of the afternoon. The junior made 17 saves throughout the four periods, but it was her vision and distribution that had the Patriots sinking.
Perez attributed her distribution to her team’s tactic, but also the player.
“That’s something we really try and capitalize on in the game,” Perez said. “We have a lot of fast swimmers on our team that are doing a really good job on breaking away. For our goalie, we’ve worked hard on making those long passes really count. When the girls are able to get down, we are able to get quick passes and get the ball into the cage. Our goalie and Kevelin did a really good job today. They led the girls — driving and setting up the team, as well.”
The Stallions had four periods to beat the Patriots, but only needed two.
Aunika Bull opened the match with a goal right away. Bull moved aggressively to the cage where she received a pass and scored.
Juleona Ruiz continued the Stallions’ push after she found Pinto wide open by the cage. Pinto grabbed the second goal for a quick two goal lead.
Salazar took a parried Patriot shot and launched a ball down the pool to Ruiz, who found the back of the cage with a powerful toss.
Hoover got on the board with their first score, but the Stallions responded. Salazar, once again, tossed a ball down the pool for Pinto, who had an easy solo chance against the Hoover goalie. Pinto showed her determination with an accurate shot into the cage. Emma Reyes and Rangle-Tapia each added a goal before the first period ended.
Madera South built a 7-1 lead entering the second period and never looked back.
Montesinos kept the Stallions afloat in the second with two of her three goals on the day.
The Stallions switched cages with the Patriots while up 10-1 and controlled the rest of the game allowing only a single goal in the final two periods while scoring four of their own.