HRV water polo: Boys win twice, girls win a pair after OT thriller

Thursday night at Sandy High School featured two different worlds between the boys and girls games. The boys varsity won by forfeit as Sandy, already short on players, didn’t provide the players for a regulation game. HRV provided Sandy some players and it was a great opportunity to have essentially a refereed scrimmage where everyone was able to get valuable playing experience.

The girl’s game, however, left everyone including the crowd exhausted and hoarse. Once again, the phrase “on any given night…” came to life unexpectedly against a team the HRV girls had beaten 12-3 at home earlier in the season. Sandy’s top three players took charge early jumping to a 5-1 lead generating incredible crowd energy and the Sandy players responded.

HRV regrouped behind excellent goalie play by Kat McElderrey, the high-energy hustle of Sam Davies and smart defense by Marelie Vorster, Jamie Robinson and Ella Mudry to fight back to a tie at 7-7 but by the end of the third quarter, Sandy led 9-8. The fourth quarter was a defensive show with McElderrey again coming up with crucial saves but Hood River was battling from behind and with 10.8 seconds showing on the clock Hood River gained possession trailing 10-9 and called timeout.

“I was amazed at how calm and determined the girls were during the timeout. They were confidant and showed the growth as a team that has developed this year,” said Coach Dave Robinson.

A simple play was called for Jocelyn Pedrotti to inbound the ball to Jamie Robinson on the perimeter to take a long range shot. Robinson drew a foul and with the defender having to back off one meter and 2.2 seconds left on the clock, Robinson fired the ball from six meters into the high corner of the goal just beyond the goalie’s outstretched fingers. “The calm and confidence really paid off as the girls just simply went out and executed the play that was called,” Robinson said.

After the ensuing eruption, the game went into overtime and Hood River never looked back winning 2-0. Hood River’s overtime hero was senior Marelie Vorster, who scored both goals with her trademark never-give-up hustle. The shutout was due to great team defense and again, goalie McElderrey, with four critical saves against point-blank shots from Sandy.

“This experience will be valuable in the future as the girls have now shown they can come back under adversity and then go on to win in overtime which will come in handy in the conference and state playoffs” said coach Kellie Dunn.

The girls leaders were Rose Finstad with four goals, Robinson with three goals, four assists and three steals, Pedrotti and Vorster with two goals apiece, and Davies with one goal, one assist and two steals. McElderrey had an impressive 18 saves and two steals coming out of the cage against 10 goals scored.

Tuesday’s games against 6A David Douglas were much more competitive than the final scores showed. Both games required HRV to keep the pressure on for the entire game as the games never really felt put away. David Douglas’ speed and physical play on both the boys and girls teams can lead to exclusion fouls which puts a player in the penalty box for 20 seconds giving the opponent a man-up advantage. Hood River worked hard in practice this week to develop technique to avoid this and it showed.

The boy’s game was tight the whole way until HRV pulled away in the fourth quarter to win 12-6 with a combination of counterattacks, solid defense, two goals by Blake Winner and another crowd pleasing full-pool goal from goalie Adam Cameron. It was a great physical battle between the teams which will benefit the boys as they look to the state championship run.

The boys’ leaders were Arthur Finstad with four goals, an assist and two steals, two goals each for Winner, Myles Cameron and Russell Grim, and a goal apiece for Cole Rothman, Adam Cameron, and JJ Mears. Cameron added 12 saves in goal with two steals.

The David Douglas girls fought hard the first half, but the HRV girls still led 7-5. David Douglas has very fast swimmers, but HRV executed a strategy matching speed in a few cases while using team defense to slow them down. This wore down the David Douglas girls and Hood River pulled away steadily in the second half to win 14-9.

The girls’ leaders were Robinson with four goals, one assist and four steals, Lauren Orr with three goals, two assists and two steals, two goals apiece for Pedrotti, Vorster and Finstad and one goal from Davies. Both Vorster and Finstad added three steals apiece.

The boys’ record improved to 8-1 in the Mt Hood Conference and 3-0 in Metro 5A, while the girls improved to 7-2 and 3-0 respectively. Both teams are in first place in the Metro 5A which will determine qualification for the state tournament.

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