Boys Water Polo: Redwood sweeps Golden West in season series
The Rangers are 6-1 in the WYL after losing 10 senior leaders from last season
By Jermaine Johnson II @Jerm_10
VISALIA – Redwood head coach Major Rogers described this season as his biggest rebuild year during his eight seasons with the team. By looking at their record, it would be hard to tell.
Last Wednesday the Rangers moved to 6-1 in the West Yosemite League after defeating the Trail Blazers 13-10.
The Rangers came ready to play, getting out to a 4-2 lead after the first quarter. They scored two more in the second quarter and allowed one, so they were up 6-3 at half time.
After the break, the Trail Blazers had a prime opportunity to cut the deficit as Redwood pulled their players for a much needed rest midway through the game.
“We had a stronger first half and let up a little bit in the second half,” said Rogers. “We’re almost to full game conditioning but not quite there yet. They were able to pull closer as the game went on but I felt confident.”
Coming out of the halftime break, Redwood was ready to go. They scored 3 goals in the quarter to increase their lead to 9-5. They earned a quick goal to start the fourth quarter and that’s when the Blazers began making their move.
They scored two quick goals with under four minutes to go, cutting the lead down to three. The Rangers would ultimately be too much for the Blazers, and would always respond with a goal of their own. They traded goals which led to a final score of 13-10.
After losing ten seniors last season, the Rangers have a young team. Four of the starters had no varsity experience heading into this season.
The winner of WYL will likely come down to the final game of the season. Redwood is comfortably in second place, just one game behind El Diamante. The two teams will play on Thursday. Mt. Whitney is in third place at 4-3 league, and they play both El Diamante and Redwood in their final three games of the regular season.
Golden West is now 2-5 in the league as they are also in a rebuilding season under new head coach Erik Schlick.
“Theres a culture to every team and it takes time to change it,” he said. “We have some older guys that make mistakes that younger guys make because they’ve been in the same program that has a tradition of losing over the last couple of years. We’re trying to break that.”
Schlick is being assisted by Sawyer Nordell who points to his team’s maturity level as being something that vastly needs to improve.
“A lot of these guys have only been playing for 2-3 years which is tough. You must have a maturity level in the water and our guys lack that a lot of times.”