Reynolds comes back to topple Sunset
6A GIRLS WATER POLO
NEWBERG — The Reynolds girls water polo team overcame a sluggish first period to overtake Sunset 14-11 in the first round of the 6A state playoffs Friday morning.
After falling behind 6-2 after the first seven minutes, the Raiders stormed back with Summer Fulton an Jayla Dieter scoring on back-to-back possessions to start the second period. Reynolds stayed on a roll when Dieter got loose on a breakaway and beat the goalie with a shot into the right side.
Reynolds left a player or sometimes two back in the pool, basically betting it could thwart a Sunset power play in order to set itself up on the counter attack.
"When we have players open down the pool, it gives us the advantage to score," Dieter said. "We got an energy bump in that second period, just knowing this could be our last game."
Reynolds tied the score 7-7 heading into halftime when Payton Young made a quick pass out of a restart in the center of the pool. The ball found Fulton, who whipped a backhand shot into the goal from beyond the 5-meter line.
The Raiders used a steady diet of lob shots to gain their first lead of the game at 11-10, capped by Fulton's goal front-and-center on the cage with 0:02 left in the third period.
"Coach (Shawn McKechnie) has us work on lobs a lot because not a lot of goalies can block them," Fulton said. "Usually the goalie will set up on one side of the cage and that leaves an area open. If you lob it up it can fall in or sometimes float in for the goal."
Sunset stayed within a goal as the clock ticked under four minutes to play when Sonja Jugo rocked the frame with an initial shot, but she was able to out swim the Raiders' goalie for the loose ball on the edge of the pool. All that was left was a simple pass into the middle for Isha Singh, who deflected the ball into the open cage.
The Apollos tried to sneak one past Reynolds for the tying goal when Stephanie Gardner released from her defensive duties early. The Raiders' Fulton and Young caught the move in time and squeezed her out with Fulton picking off a deep pass down the center of the pool.
Reynolds put the game out of reach when Fulton fired a high shot that deflected off one of the goalie's hands and then the other before finding its way into the back of the cage.
Sunset shot 1-for-8 in the fourth period and missed on two power-play chances.
"I knew this game meant a lot to our coach, and I felt that pressure to make him proud," Reynolds goalie Janah McDowell said.
Dieter and Fulton finished with six goals apiece, while Abigail Salazar scored twice.
Reynolds returned to the pool later that night and dropped a 21-5 decision to No. 1-seed Newberg.
View photos at davidball.smugmug.com.
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