Newberg Water Polo Club hosts final tourney at the original Chehalem Aquatic Center

SETH GORDON - The Newberg Water Polo Club 18U boys team placed third over the weekend in the final tournament at the current Chehalem Aquatic Center, which will close for renovations this summer once the new pool facility is   completed. Newberg's 18U girls team also placed second at the swan song event.

The Newberg Water Polo Club said goodbye to the original Chehalem Aquatic Center, the only home it has ever known, after hosting its final tournament over the weekend.

With the new pool expected to open some time in May, the club's annual spring tournament served as the facility's swan song before it gets renovated into a gymnasium.

"Some of the older coaches were getting pretty nostalgic throughout the tournament, looking around like, 'This is it, last one here,'" coach Jake Kinne said.

The Tigers were unable to end the pool's run with championships, as the girls placed second to Tualatin Hills and the boys took third.

The Newberg boys did give it a thrilling sendoff, though, beating the Storm's A team 7-5 in a penalty shootout to claim third Sunday.

The Tigers won their first three pool play contests over Willamette Valley (12-4), Empire (8-5) and Storm-B (11-8), but fell 7-6 to Northwest to finish second in their group.

That set up the match versus Storm-A, who rallied in the second half to tie the game 4-4 and force the shootout, which the Tigers promptly won 3-1.

"They're playing well, but still making mistakes," Kinne said. "They're easy-to-fix things, but they're still young."

Zach Jordan paced Newberg with 14 goals in five games. Wilson Johnson was his usual stellar self in the cage to keep the Tigers in every contest.

The Newberg girls won their first five matches of the tournament, which featured seven teams, so there were no divisions or placement games.

The Tigers won those games against Albany, Eugene, Blue Crush, Willamette Valley and Empire by a combined score of 43-15, but could not get going offensively in their final match versus Tualatin Hills, falling 9-2.

The girls were much more balanced in their scoring, with Nikki Rubottom scoring 10, Stella Byles and Haley Day notching eight apiece and MacKenzie Russell adding seven.

For the players, it seems the weekend was less emotional than for the coaches.

"They pretty much think this pool is alright, but that the new one is going to be way better," Kinne said.

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