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Turlock boys water polo wins big; girls fall to Modesto
Turlock girls
Natalie Larson of Turlock High (7) gets a shot off during the first half of Tuesday's matchup against Modesto High. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

Turlock High's water polo program saw mixed results on Tuesday in the Bulldogs' preseason opener against Modesto High.

The varsity boys squad toppled the visiting Panthers, 18-10, while the girls fell 10-7.

The Bulldog boys had three players score four or more goals and by the time the final whistle was blown, the ‘Dogs came out with a win in their first regular season matchup over the Panthers by eight goals.

“We are a high-flying offense and I don’t think that game showed how good we are at defense as well,” said Turlock boys head coach Nick Serratos. “We have options everywhere. We have nine to 10 guys who can shoot the rock so whenever someone is in they are ready to answer the call.”

The team answered more than just one call, especially after junior Zach Glidden notched six goals, just one more than sophomore Mykel Garton, who sunk five goals to go with his one assist.

“I just want our team to do well,” said Garton. “I am looking at this team now and 1-0 that’s all that counts.”

In a warm and pleasant afternoon at Turlock High, the boys squad was on fire after allowing Modesto to score the first goal of the game.

Turlock responded by outscoring the Panthers 6-2 and by the end of the first quarter the ‘Dogs had built a 7-3 lead—and they didn't let the lead slip till the end.

“Our offense is good, we play good team ball, we are fast and upbeat, but our defense is better than what we showed today so we will be ready to go for our next game on Thursday,” Serratos said.

By the end of the first quarter, Garton had amassed a hat trick with three goals.

“I was just trying to counter hard and I am normally a defensive player and things kind of just clicked today,” Garton said.

After leading 17-7 heading into the closing quarter, the Panthers defense held the Bulldogs to one goal and outscored them 3-1 but it was too late for Modesto to stage a comeback.

“I thought we had good movement and communication. A little sloppiness in trying to do too much on offense but that’s good right now,” said Serratos. “We don’t want to peak too early, we are just ready to go.”

The Turlock girls failed to finish off the game, despite being down by only one goal late in the final quarter.  A surge from the Panthers in the closing minutes led to two unanswered goals, which was capped off by a score from sophomore Emma Mesches.

“We gave up four goals in the final minutes and it was just a matter of not being quite fast enough , not having our legs under you or bad shot selection,” said Turlock girls head coach Sonja Raynes. “Especially since we had so many turnovers and that’s our problem right now and they capitalized on it.”

The game was closer than the final minutes looked as the game started off with a 4-3 lead for the Panthers and then both teams went back and forth until the final quarter when the score was 8-7, but the Turlock offense was put in check and the deep shots from Modesto went in.

“We are pretty young; we only have two seniors but at the same time I think we are moving and figuring out roles but right now it's little things like finishing a shot,” Raynes said. “We work so hard to get open and then throw the ball outside the cage or steal the ball and throw it away."

The Bulldogs will next play Downey on Thursday at home.