It was do or die for the Turlock High girls’ water polo as they went into Wednesday's Central California Conference meeting against Atwater.
The Bulldogs took the early lead over the Falcons after the first quarter and held on for the victory until the final whistle blew and the score read 12-7.
“I know they missed a couple girls,' said Turlock head coach Sonja Raynes. “But I don't think it would have made a difference in this game. We got them out of their comfort zone. In their pool, since it’s smaller, they get an easier shot than here. And they never really got going.”
Turlock improves to 4-3 in the CCC.
“We wanted to do better against El Cap, but it didn't happen, so luckily our girls are still hungry and we really want to move up in the second half,” said Raynes. “That is our goal and it’s what we are shooting for.”
So far so good for the Bulldogs, who ousted a competitive Falcons team behind four goals from Karissa Roof and four from Nicole Groteguth.
“If someone couldn't score… then somebody else stepped up but we were able to also play defense and it helped swing the game in our direction,” said Raynes. “They like to draw the foul on the outside and shoot the outside lob and I told them just not to foul and it ate the clock.”
Atwater was plagued in the opening half and only managed two goals to Turlock's seven in the first half.
“They didn't know what to do because they couldn't do what they normally do, which is shoot the five and draw the foul. They got a couple but for the most part we shut down what they do,” said Raynes.
Chewing the clock and playing the perfect defense to counter the Falcons attack made for a recipe for success, even after a minor drawback in the closing minutes of the game.
Up 7-2 going into the third, the Bulldogs outscored the Falcons 4-1 in the third quarter and gave the home team a big cushion to work with.
“The girls have been ready to play and we been working on so many things as well,” said Raynes. “They focused on Karissa, but we had an alternative route to get the ball to her. We can take it down instead of forcing the bad pass. We worked on it during practice so it was to our advantage.”
All worked out for the Bulldogs in the end after Eva Gemperle scored the final goal to make it official at 12-7. Allison Serratos scored a goal and Caitlin Cornell added a pair of goals.
Turlock has four more games left in league. The Bulldogs will host Golden Valley at 4 p.m. Monday.