Girls Water Polo: Monache continues strong start with another win
New head coach Kyla Conway has led the Marauders to an 8-1 record to start the season
By Jermaine Johnson II @Jerm_10
PORTERVILLE – The Monache girls water polo team looks ready to reign over the East Yosemite League. After a heartbreaking 11-10 loss to Redwood in the season opener, the Marauders have now won eight straight games. One of their biggest tests of the young season came in a tightly contested matchup against Golden West.
Defense was the story of the first half against the Trailblazers. The Marauders were up 6-4 before the two teams took a break to talk things over. Both teams made the proper adjustments and traded leads in the third. Golden West immediately got back into the game, scoring three straight goals to take the lead. Monache withstood the adversity, responding with two goals of their own to regain the lead at the end of the quarter.
Maintaining their lead, the Marauders tightened their defense in the final period only allowing one goal. They went on to win the matchup 12-8. Head Kyla Conway said that she emphasizes defense in practice, and it paid off in this game. “Defense wins games,” she said. “At the end we had the lead and so I told them to play good defense and that will set up our offense.”
Senior team captain Infinity Dignam played a vital role in the win. She is the team’s goal keeper, and made some crucial saves late in the game to preserve the victory. Coach Conway also spoke highly of junior Ava Lobue, describing her as both an offensive and defensive threat at all times. She scored four of the team’s 12 goals.
Golden West is one of the better teams that Monache has had to face, and Conway told her team that she is proud of how hard they fought. “They are a good team and have had a lot of success,” she said. “I like when we play teams like this because it gets us in shape and helps us know exactly what we need to work on and what we do well.”
Kyla Conway is in her first year as the head coach of the Monache girls water polo team, after long time head coach Brandon Weaver stepped down. “I Inherited a good team with good players from Coach Weaver. I am trying to build a climate where [the girls] are supportive of each other, have fun and respect the game.”
A graduate from Porterville High School, Conway played on their varsity water polo team during her time there, and then came back to coach the junior varsity team. She also used to teach fourth grade, and was making the transition into teaching at Monache High School when the varsity head coach position opened up. “They needed a coach and I had some background so it ended up working out,” she said.
Conway’s alma mater is now one of her team’s league rivals. Porterville has won the EYL three years in a row. In 2017, they shared the crown with Monache as both teams tied for first place. Conway and the Marauders will head to Porterville on Oct. 14, in a game that could possibly decide who will be the team to beat in the league. They play again two weeks later on Oct. 31.