Porterville and Strathmore High School water polo teams will meet for a CIF Central Section Division III semifinal showdown after the two picked up wins in quarterfinal matches on Saturday.
No. 1 Porterville 19, No. 8 Exeter 11
In the first game of the day, top-seeded Porterville (16-11, 4-4 EYL) blew by eighth-seeded Exeter (13-10) with a 19-11 victory at home.
Porterville’s Addy Merritt led all scorers with a total of eight goals, scoring four apiece in the second and third quarters. She also had three steals, three blocks and an assist.
After the first quarter, the teams were tied 3-all, but Porterville took over in the second and outscored Exeter 7-3 to take a 10-6 lead into the half. The Panthers’ Alondra Arroyo Rico also played a big part in securing the halftime lead by scoring three of her four goals in the second quarter.
“We started a little bit slow,” PHS head coach Evan Thomas said. “We were kind of feeling them out. We had never played them before. But after the first quarter, we kind of adjusted a little bit. The girls did a really good job with doing what we were wanting to do on defense mainly. And that was kind of leading to our counterattack on offense, which helped us a lot. That’s when we started to play well.”
The second half was all Porterville, with the Panthers outscoring Exeter 7-4 in the third, then 2-1 in the fourth.
For Porterville, goalkeeper Ahna Davis totaled 10 blocks. Maycee Hyder finished with four goals while totaling a team-high nine assists. Claire Lee led the team with six steals and recorded a block, an assist, and two goals. Aubrey Wingfield had a goal and a steal. Makenzie Hyder had three assists and a steal.
Exeter’s Erin Hirni led the Monarchs with six goals.
No. 13 Strathmore 11, No. 5 Monache 10
Monty Newkirk threw his arms in the air, and the Spartans’ players and fans went wild after 13th-seeded Strathmore (13-5, 6-1 ESL) upset fifth-seeded Monache (12-18, 2-6 EYL) 11-10 in double overtime of a quarterfinal match on the road. Newkirk, the Spartans’ head coach, said it was the team’s first win against the Marauders in about six years.
Strathmore led early in the game after taking a 4-1 lead in the first quarter and closing out the half up 6-3, but Monache found its rhythm in the third. A goal from Regan Azevedo, followed by two from Kambrea Weaver tied the game. The teams traded goals to close out the third tied 7-all.
In the fourth, Weaver gave the Marauders their first lead with a goal, followed by another from Azevedo to make it a two-goal game with 2 minutes, 9 seconds to play. However, the Spartans’ AnnMarie Patterson scored two goals inside of the final two minutes to force overtime.
In the first overtime, Izobellah Burrough put Strathmore ahead with her first goal of the game. Patterson tacked on another in the second overtime, and the Spartans’ defense held firm to allow only a single goal in overtime – to Katie Chapman -- and secure the win.
“It was good,” Newkirk said. “It was a real learning experience that will drag into Wednesday (against Porterville) for sure. It was great. The freshmen played good. Everybody played good.”
For Strathmore, Patterson led the team with five goals. Alyssa Gonzalez and Natalie Boudreaux had two goals each, while Burrough and Faith Wynn had one.
Weaver and Azevedo had four goals apiece for Monache. Aeva Torres and Katie Chapman each scored a goal.
No. 1 Porterville and No. 13 Strathmore will now face off in a Div. III semifinal game Wednesday, Nov. 10. The two met earlier this season on Sept. 14 with the Panthers coming out on top 9-8.
“We lost to them by one last time, so just have to play like we did today,” Newkirk said about the matchup.
Records provided by MaxPreps.com.