In his first year as the head coach of the varsity boys’ water polo team, Aaron Weiss led the Turlock High Bulldogs to a postseason victory on Wednesday when they hosted Enochs at home.
Turlock's Jakob Bradley paved the way after the senior scored a team-high five goals for the game and the Bulldogs swamped Enochs out of the pool on a chilly afternoon, 16-10, in the opening round of the Division I CIF Sac-Joaquin Section tournament.
“We won a playoff game so overall it was a good game,” said Weiss of the outcome. “This was maybe the last game many of the guys would play so I tried getting everyone in there but at the same time we wanted to win.”
No discredit to Enochs’ efforts after scoring double digit goals, but it was clear that Turlock was the better team on Wednesday. After missing four open net opportunities in addition to multiple shots that bounced off the post, Turlock was playing with confidence from the beginning.
“When we do get those opportunities when we should score we should put it away because I saw some open misses and I don't expect them to play like that when we are in our next game,” said Weiss.
After the first quarter, Turlock had built a 6-2 lead behind Bradley's hat trick along with a fierce defense that forced Enochs to play from an uncomfortable position.
Enochs stayed in the game, taking advantage of a penalty shot with under two minutes left in the first half, to cut the lead at 9-5 before scoring a goal with five seconds left to make it 9-6 at the half.
As Turlock resumed action with the majority of their regular starters not in, Coach Weiss subbed in his guys just in time before Enochs cut the lead to two in the third.
Once most of the starters checked in, including Bradley, the team went off and so did Bradley, scoring five of the six goals in the third quarter to round the lead to 14-8 heading into the final seven minutes of play.
“A little bit of stalling until the third quarter that is when we put all the starters back in and we wanted to get a comfortable lead and then everybody would go back, but overall I felt pretty good,” said Weiss. “In the next game we won't have a luxury to miss or do the same thing.”
The next game for Turlock will be against a familiar foe who the Bulldogs lost to 13-2 earlier in the season—Granite Bay.
“They are tough... very good,” said Weiss. “We are trying to see if we can come up with anything to counter their press because they pressed hard and shut us down on offense so we will probably have to take some risks if we want to get some scores in there.”
Turlock's next game will be at Whitney High School against the #3 seed, Granite Bay, at 3:30 p.m. today.
“We are going to have to execute better than we did here because we can't make mistakes with guys like Granite Bay,” Weiss added. “We will see if we can do it.”