The Turlock varsity boys water polo team is on a roll.
The Bulldogs are fresh off to a perfect start in the Central California Conference after defeating El Capitan on the road,14-8, on Monday, followed by back-to-back non-league victories on Tuesday and Wednesday against Sonora and Oakdale—two well-respected athletic programs.
“We had a rough tournament play the Saturday before and couldn't practice to fix it before our league game, so we had to fix our defense on game day and our boys did,” said Turlock head coach Sonja Raynes.
Against El Capitan, Noah Benson came out with a fury and added a team-high four goals. Dylan Bernardi added a pair of goals, along with four steals.
The Bulldogs took a 4-3 lead after the first period then went on a 5-1 run to lead 9-4 at halftime.
Their lead was sustained as they went up 11-5 after the third, eventually closing out the game with a 3-3 run.
“A lot of help and communication and a mismatch as well,” said Raynes. “We made the steals and fed the offense.”
Goalkeeper Brandon Dhanowa finished the game with six saves and eight steals.
The Bulldogs also managed to limit their turnovers after committing well over 20 in a game in Saturday's tournament.
Tuesday's road game fared well for the 'Dogs, who played a tight contest that was 1-1 after the first.
Turlock then outscored Sonora 4-3 to take a 5-4 lead. They extending the lead to 9-6 after the third, eventually winning it 11-9. Dhanowa added six saves and five steals.
“…have to talk about Noah Benson again who had six goals and I told him to be the big guy and dominate if he can and he had one assist and a steal,” said Raynes. “But once again Dylan Bernardi setting up his teammates, one goal, and four assists. He is really becoming a real asset in team play, a standout player overall.”
Turlock ended their heavy week of consecutive games with a 12-4 win over Oakdale that was over from the onset.
The Bulldogs controlled the game from the start, going up 4-0 once the first ended and taking a 6-0 lead at halftime.
Turlock led 8-2 after the third and closed out the fourth with a 4-2 run to win by an eight-goal difference.
“Also, junior Cole Marchy and Trenton Coffey played great defense as well and super solid,” said Raynes.
Marchy added two goals, two assists and two steals, while Coffey added one goal, an assist and a steal for the game.
“I see far more teamwork, we had 10 assists in that game on Wednesday out of 12 goals,” Raynes added. “That has been great. My goal is teamwork and working together, work smarter and we won't have to work as hard and I inherited skill as well, now we have to mesh together and we are well on our way to doing that.”
The boys will next compete in a weekend tournament at Merced College, hosted by Atwater and Buhach Colony on Saturday at a time yet to be determined.