Los Banos High's girls water polo team took control of the Western Athletic Conference with a 12-6 win over Ceres on Monday. Los Banos led wire-to-wire in a hard-fought, violent game.
"That was very aggressive, a lot of fighting went on," Los Banos point Alyssa Luna said. "I enjoy playing tough teams that kind of fight under water but nobody can see."
The Tigers took control with a 5-goal second quarter, starting when Taylor Brook broke a 2-2 tie with a backhand shot off a Mackenzie Hurley assist. By the time Mayra Garcia scored off a Brooks pass with a minute left in the half, LB boasted a 7-4 lead.
"I think the difference between our team and their team is they got frustrated with themselves," Luna said. "We stayed calm and cool, and we just played our game and did our thing. We just ignored the other things they were saying to us and stayed aggressive."
The Tigers held that three-goal lead through the third quarter before outscoring the Bulldogs 4-1 in the fourth.
The game was much closer on the boys side, with Los Banos pulling off a 12-10 victory on the strength of goalkeeper Marcos Hedrick.
"They like to shoot from far away, so that also helps. You have a lot of time to react to the ball," Hedrick said. "As you may have noticed, a lot of the goals they had were right in the corner or right under my arm."
LB and Ceres went to halftime tied 5-5 after a Ceres goal with 8 seconds remaining. Los Banos coach Darryl Barger told his players during the break, "Your goalie's keeping you in this game." The offense responded, and LB mounted a 9-7 lead in the third with two goals from Jared Benitez and one each from A.J. Coronel and Kyren DiMarzio.
"We have a pretty dynamic offense. Our defense is somewhat solid," Hedrick said. "I always tell my teammates that goalie is the last line of defense, defense is to make sure it doesn't get to that, and offense makes sure that if they do score a goal, it doesn't matter because we're so far ahead."
DiMarzio added two more of his team-high five goals in the fourth, and David Melendez shut down Ceres' final offensive chance with a steal.
On Wednesday, Pacheco's boys added a high point to their season with a 19-2 victory over Central Catholic, led by Gabriel Andrade's six goals. Even goalkeeper Spencer Heaton got in on the scoring action when he overthrew a teammate and caught Central's goalkeeper out of position. The Pacheco girls lost 19-5.
The Los Banos boys and girls stayed undefeated in league play with wins over Livingston the same day.