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Turlock girls polo handles Gregori to open league play
Turlock girls water polo
Sadie Bigler of Turlock tallied five goals, notching a hat-trick of her own while adding three assists and six steals as the Bulldogs toppled Gregori High, 16-7 (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

The Turlock High varsity girls water polo team is off to a 1-0 start in league after Wednesday’s 16-7 win over Gregori High from their home pool after they saw five different players score at least a goal. 

“We still need to start making our shots, because if you look at the stats, we had about 20 misses,” said Turlock head coach Anne Cornell. “So those are more scoring opportunities because we were drawing the kickout, and we were doing what we were supposed to do, but then the 20 misses. Other than that, it is looking better as we move forward, communicating, talking.” 

The misses were irrelevant as the Bulldogs kicked things off on fire and never looked back. 

They went up 4-1 after the first quarter and by halftime their lead had extended to 9-2. 

In the third, the game took a wild turn as Madison Howry notched four goals of her six while Turlock scored eight in the third alone. 

By the end of the third, Turlock led 14-6. 

The final seven minutes saw Turlock outscore Gregori, 2-1, while the defense kept it near the same score. 

“I was happy with the performance today, we drove, got the kick outs, and it is the little things that are fixable, we just have to put it all together,” said Cornell. “It is focusing on the little things, improving on those and working as a team, and constantly working on all those things.” 

Turlock looked as good as they had all season long, despite coming off a 3-1 performance at the Watsonville Tournament last weekend. 

Following Wednesday’s win, Turlock is 7-2 overall, having lost only to Santa Clara and El Capitan (one-goal loss). 

They have also won 11 straight league games dating back to last season. 

“We would like to win league outright this year,” said Cornell. “Besides going past the first round at sections, those are the team goals, and again, getting our starting lineup in conference would be awesome.”

Cornell knows the goal is lofty, but possible. 

Stella Romeo of Turlock finished the game with a pair of goals and two assists and three steals. 

Howry tallied a team-high six goals, an assist and two steals. Emmerson Stempson finished with three goals and three assists. Sadie Bigler tallied five goals, notching a hat-trick of her own while adding three assists and six steals. 

The next game for Turlock will be a road contest at Enochs High at 3 p.m. Monday.