The Turlock High girls’ water polo team had an impressive home opener debut as they beat Johansen High School Thursday afternoon, 18-5.
Karissa Roof had four goals, two assists and three steals to lead the Bulldogs, while Alethia Puentes allowed only five goals with 11 blocks.
“I was pleased with the way the girls played together, working the ball around,” said Sonja Raynes, Turlock head coach. “We’ve been working on teamwork, individual skills also—but trying to put it all together as a team, and today we did that.”
Turlock came out strong to start the match, scoring two goals within the first minute of play and the Bulldogs continued to control the tempo during all four quarters.
“There is a core group that has played together for a while now: Hannah Groteguth, Allison Serratos, Karissa Roof and Sarah Phillips,” said Raynes. “They played well today, and I was happy with the team’s performance as a whole.”
The Bulldogs were attacking offensively and aggressive defensively as Roof’s defense on the ball lead to many of Johansen’s turnovers. The Bulldogs capitalized on those opportunities and scored quickly off of those mistakes.
“Our defense right now relies on a team effort; if one person is out of position it could all fall apart,” said Raynes. “But we are versatile, learning to read other teams and acting accordingly.”
Turlock consistently scored in transition and countered well the entire game. Their efforts pushed through the fourth quarter and they continued to lock down on defense, forcing two shot clock violations with under five minutes left in play.
This was a non conference game, but a great opportunity for both teams to prepare for league play.
Turlock will open league against Golden Valley High School next Thursday at 4 p.m. in Merced.
“Basically you’ve got to focus on the basics,” said Raynes. “Look and read the opportunities given to you, and just keep working hard.”