The 2015 season was a success by all standards for the Turlock High varsity girls’ water polo team.
The Bulldogs went on to accumulate a Central California Conference record of 7-3, which earned them a second place spot in league along with a postseason berth in the Division-I CIF Sac-Joaquin Section tournament.
Although it was one game and done for the Bulldogs in the playoffs, the team managed to see many upsides from multiple players, who return in hopes of a stout 2016 campaign, even after saying goodbye to a few talents.
“We left some seniors, it did hurt us. Hannah Groteguth, she was solid and Sarah Philips as well was a team leader and positive beyond belief and they kept the glue on the team,” said Turlock head coach Sonja Raynes. “But with that said we have Karissa Roof stepping into the biggest role.”
During the 2015 season, Roof combined for 79 goals, 24 assists and 51 steals in all contests.
“We all know that Karissa is an animal and is tough, a team leader and can keep people going. She has really stepped up as a leader and a player as well,” said Raynes. “She played for a club in Merced and I got to watch her play. She did well and stayed in shape for the season.”
Alongside Roof will be the return of Taylor Askil, Allison Serratos and Caitlin Cornell.
Serratos finished 2015 with 49 goals, 28 assists and 76 steals while Cornell added 14 goals, 3 assists and 25 steals.
“Taylor and Allison should do well. Alli, played in the Bay Area with a club and I think she got great training. I know we lost a lot of players, but really these girls are stepping in,” said Raynes. “We will see Eva Gemperle and Jackie Vierra as well. I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Raynes knows the significance of the season and personal expectations are high, but very approachable and doable.
“As a coach it’s my job to get these girls to mesh together and I think we can do it,” said Raynes. “Mainly because some of the other schools lost positions, but we have big numbers as well. We had over 40 in tryouts and that’s a good problem to have.”
Look for the Bulldogs to be one of the top competitors in an always tight CCC during 2016.
“I think we have the capabilities to do very well but we will have to get it all together as the year goes on as well,” Raynes added.
The first match for the Bulldogs will be a scrimmage with Johansen at a time yet to be announced Sept. 5.