“Things change every year in high school water polo. That’s why you have to be wary of every opponent.”
That statement, made by Berkeley High water polo coach Bill Gaebler after Tuesday’s matches against Grenada High School, applied to both the boys’ and girls’ matches. After beating Grenada 21-5 last season, the boys managed to pull out a tight 6-3 victory after being tied at halftime. And the girls, who took three overtimes to beat Grenada a year ago, jumped out to a 9-0 first-half lead and won by a final of 12-3 on Tuesday.
The boys’ match was tightly contested throughout, with both teams struggling to penetrate the opponent’s defense for good shots. The teams were tied 2-2 at the half, but the Yellowjackets showed better stamina in the second half, pulling away for the three-point victory. Joe Ravera and David Schooley led the ‘Jackets with two goals apiece, and goalie Chris May made several crucial second-half saves to preserve the win.
The girls’ match that followed was much less competitive. Berkeley jumped out of the gate with four first-quarter goals, including two by Carrie Guilfoyle in the last 1:30 of the period, while not allowing any shots by the opposition. The second quarter was more of the same, with the ‘Jackets tallying five more goals to open their lead to 9-0 at halftime. Six different girls scored for the home team in the first half, and goalie Amy Degenkolb carried a light load with just one save before halftime.
Berkeley appeared to let up a bit to start the second half, and Granada’s Mary Moruza took advantage of their lax defense to score the only two goals of the third quarter.
“We worked on some things we didn’t get to work on in the first half, and that gave them some scoring opportunities,” Gaebler said. “That’s the way the game goes sometimes.”
But Berkeley quickly shut the door on any comeback hopes for the visiting team, scoring two goals in less than a minute to begin the final period. Moruza pulled one goal back to complete her hat trick for the game, but Grenada was unable to put any more scores on the board, and Aurora McAllister’s goal with three minutes remaining in the game set the final score at 12-3 in favor of the Yellowjackets.