An 0-2 start isn't ideal for the Turlock Bulldogs, but neither was Monday's Central California Conference matchup between the Turlock and Atwater High varsity girls’ water polo teams that ended, 7-6 in overtime.
“The pool took us out of our comfort zone, we had to take tough shots,” said Turlock head coach Sonja Raynes. “They played their hearts out, but its just getting used to a whole new level. JV to varsity is a different level and you need tougher skin, and need to be more aggressive, we are not used to it yet.”
It didn't help that Turlock's star player Karissa Roof was double and triple teamed at times but the senior still scored a pair of goals.
“It was a back and forth game but they knew to cover Karissa,” said Raynes. “We live and learn.”
The Bulldogs came in having lost their league opener to El Capitan and the last thing they wanted was to begin league with two losses.
It didn't help that the match was played on the road rather than at home, which made things more challenging for the Bulldogs.
“The Atwater pool is very challenging, brings out different aspects, its narrower so it allows teams to fluff a lot,” said Raynes.
The match was highly competitive from the get-go between both CCC schools who went into the second quarter with Atwater leading 2-1.
The Falcons scored two in the second while holding the Bulldogs to just one and the score read 4-2.
Turlock was able to cut the lead to one after the third with the score at 5-4, but then they went on to tie it at 5-5 by the end of the fourth.
Atwater was able to outscore Turlock, 2-1, in both three-minute OT quarters, but the final opportunity came with one minute remaining.
Turlock was held off and Atwater ran the clock down to end the game.
Nicole Groteguth and Allison Serratos each tallied a pair of goals. Groteguth also added nine steals and Serratos finished with six.
“We had opportunities, Karissa was open in the middle about three times but we couldn't get it in,” said Raynes. “They only had outside shouts, we controlled the inside and everything except outside and now we just need to start scoring.”
Next for the Bulldogs is a CCC match with Golden Valley on Wednesday followed by a 10-team tournament on Friday and Saturday at Watsonville High called the Monterey Bay Shoot Out.
“We will have upwards of seven games in this week alone by Saturday,” said Raynes. “It will be great for conditioning and we need to work on some things, so for me its gratification to work on the game and fix the bugs. Hopefully we are all a better team coming back after the tournament.”