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Girls water polo defeated in playoff quarterfinals
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Abigail Braley looks for a pass during the Bulldogs' victory on Tuesday over McClatchy. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN

The Turlock High girls’ varsity water polo team’s season came to a close this week after they fell in the playoff quarterfinals to Woodcreek High 11-7.


The loss came just two days after an impressive victory by the Bulldogs in the opening round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Division I Girls Water Polo Playoffs on Tuesday, where they defeated McClatchy High 13-5. Turlock entered the playoff tournament as Central California Athletic League champions after going 10-0 in conference play.


“The girls played really, really well and stepped up to the occasion on Tuesday,” Turlock head coach Anne Cornell said. “All of the roles got to play and there were many scoring and assisting opportunities, so it was a really good game.”


On Thursday, however, fortune didn’t fall in the Bulldogs’ favor as they lost in the quarterfinals. Cornell said the team has made it to the second round of playoffs countless years, but has yet to make it to the semifinals during her time as coach. 


Turlock was within striking range of Woodcreek at one point during the half, down just 6-4, but was unable to pull of the win. 


“It was a close game, and then we made a few mistakes here and there,” Cornell said. The teamwork was there, we just fell short of the wind.”


With the end of the season comes CCAL recognition, and plenty of Turlock players earned accolades following the 2021 season. Lia Romero owned CCAL co-MVP and Raquel Rodriguez was named CCAL Defensive Player of the Year. Brey Pierce also earned First Team All-League honors.


“Those three together combined to make an outstanding group of girls. Without those three feeding the ball to every one or stealing the ball, assisting the ball and feeding it to each other, we wouldn't have had the results that we had,” Cornell said. 


Turlock Boys Water Polo also fell in the quarterfinal D-I playoff Friday, and the Wednesday issue of the Turlock Journal will have full coverage.