There are a few things the Turlock High girls water polo team can look forward to now that the Bulldogs are 5-0 in league action after marching past crosstown rival Pitman High 17-6 on Tuesday night at the Steve Feaver Aquatic Center on the Turlock High campus.
There is today’s nonconference game at Oakdale High, which will allow the Bulldogs an opportunity to see where they stand outside of their conference. There’s the fact that they get a week’s worth of rest from the Central California Conference, since their next league matchup is against Golden Valley High on Oct. 12.
There’s another thing: “We really want that patch,” Turlock’s explosive center-forward Madeline Keesey said.
What she’s referring to is the league championship patch the Bulldogs can put on their varsity letterman jackets if they win the CCC. They’re halfway there. Not so fast. Today, they will play the second of two nonconference games, this one against Oakdale.
So why are the Bulldogs playing outside of their conference at this point? Well, Los Banos High moved out of the CCC after league realignments last season, leaving two open spots on the schedule that the Tigers usually filled. Turlock — as well as other CCC teams — decided it was best to find matches to play elsewhere to fulfill the drive to stay competitive, even if it means traveling to Oakdale.
On Tuesday, the Bulldogs were focused on the Pride, who fell to 2-3 in the CCC. Turlock was led by Keesey and Jacy Gustafson, who both finished with five goals each. Haley Raynes contributed with three scores and Melinda Johnson added two, while goalie Carlee Sousa was a force in front of the net and finished with eight saves.
Speaking of defense, the Bulldogs had 14 steals, five of them from Michaela Long. With that, Turlock had control of the game from the beginning. “Our defense was very solid. Our defense made steals happen,” Bulldogs coach Sonja Raynes said.
For Pitman, Kristen Arnold had three goals to lead the Pride in scoring.
The Bulldogs are glad to be in the driver’s seat of the CCC, after beating then-undefeated Merced High last week.
“You don’t want to sit back,” Raynes said. “You have work to look forward to. You have to honor the next team that comes along.”
Even if it’s a nonconference team.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.