The San Lorenzo Valley Cougars varsity boys water polo team cruised to a 15-2 victory over the visiting Christopher High Cougars to conclude the first half of the Monterey Bay League Pacific Division schedule on September 25.
The local team faced league-leading Palma after press time Wednesday, Sept. 26, to begin the second half of the season.
Against Christopher, senior goaltender Jacob Kersten and the SLV Cougars’ back line of defense frustrated the visitors in the first half, allowing no goals and only two shots total from the “hole,” the area directly in front of the net.
“In the first half, the defense was really good,” said Kersten, who made nine saves in one half of action. “We didn’t let them score, and we were able to counterattack.”
SLV players turned shots blocked by Kersten or forced turnovers into counterattacks as they jumped out to an 8-0 lead at halftime.
“Our counterattack was not so hot at the beginning of the season, but it’s definitely improved,” Kersten said.
Marshall Williams, a sophomore who recently moved up to varsity, scored twice and Devon Northcott scored three times in the first half for the home team.
Neal Lynberg replaced Kersten in the net after halftime and made three saves.
Christopher finally scored with 25 seconds left in the third quarter and the home team up 12-0.
Northcott finished the game with four goals and Kersten added three after joining the offense in the second half.
Head coach Matt Troxell credited the team’s defense for the win.
“We’ve been working hard on taking the shot away from the hole, and it worked out well today,” he said.
Two other sophomores, Kurt Fulkerson and Ryland Denny, also moved up to varsity, and both scored.
Troxell said the team’s games against Stevenson, Palma and Harbor highs — the three teams the Cougars lost to in the first half — will be important in determining how his team finishes the season.
The SLV Cougars were 4-5 overall, 3-3 in league after the win against Christopher.
Varsity girls: SLV 11, Carmel 6
The SLV varsity girls water polo team defeated Carmel High on Tuesday, Sept. 25, to improve to 6-1 in league. Cami Kellogg scored five goals, Marissa Petras added three and Hanna Kersten scored two in the victory.
Brook Fultz made 11 saves on the day.
The Cougars’ only loss of the season was to Soquel High by a 5-3 score Sept. 6. The teams will meet again Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Santa Cruz High for a rematch.
Soquel sits in first place with a 7-0 record.