The girls water polo team had a breakout season in 2015, finishing third in the state tournament after not winning in a single game in their inaugural 2014 campaign and appear to have picked up where they left off last season, pummeling David Douglas 15-2 in the Eagles’ away opener on Tuesday.
There hasn’t been much turnover on the HRV roster from last season and the core group of Eagles return with hopes of taking their team even farther in the fall of 2016.
Kellie Dunn serves as the girls head coach again this season and in an interview earlier this summer, stated that she was “looking forward” to the girls bringing home a state title as they continue to show “astronomical growth.” She also remarked that she has been “blown away by the commitment and work ethic that this group is bringing into the season.”
Dunn said the team’s game plan against David Douglas was to “come out fast from the first whistle,” as the Scots had a reputation that preceded them of being a fast team on the counterattack. The strategy worked, with HRV going up 7-0 in the first quarter. The Eagles surrendered two goals in the second quarter, but that was it.
“With a deep bench and plenty of quick swimmers, we were able to dominate the game from the first minute to the end,” she said. “The team showed that they are much faster and stronger this year, controlled the ball, and displayed some of their best passing as a team so far.”
Leading the team was sophomore Jamie Robinson, who racked up a third of HRV’s goals on Tuesday. She was followed by junior Rose Finstad, who put up four, and will captain the team with senior Oona Johnsen. Frosh Faith Ocheskey tallied an impressive four goals and five assists and will likely be the most notable addition to the team this season. She is an accomplished swimmer and was also a key component of Hood River’s 14U club water polo team.
“I’m really excited about freshman Faith Ocheskey. She’s been playing in the Hood River Water Polo club program for a few years now and brings with her some serious speed and a really powerful shot, plus has a lot of great game experience already,” Dunn noted.
Other scorers for HRV included juniors Ella Mudry and Courtney Cataneda, who had a goal apiece. Kat McElderry, who is also a junior, “did a great job covering the cage,” Dunn noted.
With a conference win already under their belt this season, the girls will face another 6A conference opponent, Sam Barlow, on Sept. 8 at 5:30 p.m. in Gresham. The Eagles will host their first game Sept. 17 against Reynolds at 5:30 p.m. at the Hood River Aquatic Center.