Turlock High's Gabe Sleeper scored the first two goals of Monday's contest but it wasn't enough as the Bulldogs boys’ varsity water polo team fell to Atwater, 14-8, after getting outscored 14-6 in the final three quarters.
“Atwater played very physical and very smart. Always a tough game playing at their smaller pool and they used it to their advantage very well,” said Turlock head coach Manny Bettencourt.
It didn't help that the Bulldogs originally scheduled home contest against the Falcons was rescheduled for the match to be played at Atwater and they capitalized on the home field advantage.
Turlock found it tough to get used to the pool’s size difference despite Sleeper’s pair of goals.
The scores gave the Bulldogs an early 2-0 lead after the first quarter.
The Bulldogs managed to lead for most of the first half before the offense took a halt and failed to muster enough goals to keep up with the Falcons, who took a one goal lead at the half.
Turlock never led again for the remainder of the game.
It was the home team in Atwater who took full advantage of their pool and ability to adjust easier than their visitors.
“Their pool is much more narrow than most and shallow in one end so we have to adjust our game plan accordingly and I didn't do a good job of having the boys ready for that environment,” said Bettencourt.
Trenton Coffey of Turlock came off the bench and scored three goals, adding four steals for the game.
Turlock now goes to 1-1 in the Central California Conference after the loss.
“We made too many mental mistakes in this game, poor shots and bad passes, it really cost us in the end,” Bettencourt added. “We need to learn to adapt as the game goes on. We can't continue to make the same mistakes.”
The boys will take on Golden Valley at home at 6 p.m. Wednesday.