By Kevin Park
Photos by Brian Kojima
The varsity girls’ water polo team defeated the Esperanza Aztecs at Esperanza High School on Wednesday, February 17 by a score of 7-4 to move on to the quarterfinals of the CIF playoffs. For the upcoming postseason matchup, South Pas will host the game against Los Altos High School on Saturday, February 20. The Tigers hold an overall record of 15-8 and a league record of 4-4.
The game began in a very slow paced fashion as both teams struggled to create any threat offensively. Even though the Tigers played exceptionally effective defense throughout the first quarter, the Aztecs snuck a last minute goal before the end of the first quarter to lead 1-0.
In the second quarter, sophomore Hayden Carlson ignited the Tiger’s offense as she scored on a counter attack to even the score at 1-1. Then, freshman Sydney Shettleroe followed up with her own goal as she created space for herself and banked the ball off the bar to make it 2-1. Carlson scored another goal in the second quarter by posting up and shooting over her defender. This goal placed the Tigers at a 3-1 advantage by the end of the first half.
Esperanza struck first in the third quarter to cut the South Pas lead to 3-2. However, Carlson came back with another goal as she drove into the defense and took a quick shot to increase the lead to 4-2. Then, South Pas added to the lead as junior Brittany Jarjour raced to the ball on a counter attack and scored a powerful shot past the goalie to make it 5-2. For her fourth goal in the game, Carlson backed down her defender and shot around her to score the goal. The Tigers led 6-2, until the Aztecs cut the deficit with a goal to end the third down 6-3.
With the game still in any team’s reach, the girls did what they did best and closed out the game. Esperanza scored one more goal in the fourth quarter to close in the gap at 6-4, but sophomore Sumi Rudisky scored a perimeter shot to secure the first round victory at 7-4. The Tigers set down the Esperanza Aztecs to move to the next round in CIF playoffs.
“We exceeded our expectations and fought really hard. I think we played a really good game. For the next round, our team is optimistic and ready to fight and prove our toughness as a team,” senior Melody Gray said.
The Tigers look to carry over the momentum from the first round victory to the quarterfinal matchup against Los Altos High School on Saturday, February 17 at home for a shot at the semifinals.