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Lady Bulldogs back, gunning for first

Lady Bulldogs back, gunning for first

A Bulldog smiles as she practices her passing skills with a teammate on Tuesday.

POSTED September 11, 2012 10:10 p.m.

The Turlock High girls water polo team was poised to claim the Central California Conference crown last season but in one day it was snatched away, by an undefeated Merced High team. The Bulldogs’ sole CCC loss of the season left a bad taste, so this season they’re back to return the favor.

“Merced is definitely one of the top teams this year,” Turlock’s head coach Sonja Raynes said. “They’re strong, but not impossible. We intend on fighting.”

The Bulldogs’ plan of attack will be a synergized team effort involving seniors Abbey Johnson, Savanna Schaffer, and Jewel Gasca, as well as veteran junior Rebekah Groteguth. Already in pre-season play this group of seasoned waterpolo players has melded with the newcomers to the team, creating chemistry that Coach Raynes hopes will lift them beyond last season’s second place finish and second round playoff appearance.

“Right now we’re taking in the up and coming players and trying to gel them together and figure out their roles,” Raynes said. “We’ve definitely improved from game to game and we saw more team play, which is what I was after.”

Turlock hosts Golden Valley High Thursday in the CCC home opener. The Bulldogs will enter the pool with the expectations of performing at a higher level the sum of their parts.

“We don’t have any one standout player,” Raynes said. “Our bread and butter is going to be our team play.”

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