The HRV girls water polo team added another conference win to its tally Tuesday evening, easily defeating the Sandy Pioneers. In fact, the Eagles (3-0) beat Sandy (1-3) by such a large margin — 19-1, to be exact — they had to slow down, or be fined.
HRV Head Coach Kellie Dunn explained that in Oregon high school water polo, there is a mercy rule of sorts in effect that if a team beats another team by 20 points, that team gets fined, as a walloping of that magnitude is considered unsportsmanlike. After the Eagles went up 8-0 in the first quarter, Dunn tried to slow down the scoring by putting in her JV players, but, speaking to the depth that the program has been able to cultivate over the past couple seasons, the JV squad continued to score on Sandy.
“Games like that become a bit of a balance between score management and letting players still play the game to a certain extent, especially those who don’t always get in the varsity action,” Dunn noted.
The Eagles also wanted to make an impression on Sandy after the Pioneers nearly cost HRV a victory last season.
“This was an important win for us to get since Sandy is both in our regular conference and is also in our 5A league, so basically beating Sandy is a check box on our way to qualifying for state and we obviously want to get that win in our Mt. Hood Conference as well,” Dunna said. “We also had an overtime win against them last year, so there was a little bit of unfinished business to resolve — we didn’t want to let them sneak up on us like that again and we wanted to make a statement.”
The Pioneers were put on their heels early thanks to what has become HRV’s signature speedy counterattack and what Dunn called an “unrelenting pressure defense” that overwhelmed Sandy, as it has other teams so far this year.
HRV’s offense came from everywhere — eight players — including a team-high five goals from Jamie Robinson, four from Courtney Castaneda, three from Rose Finstad, two from Faith Ocheskey and Reegan Tweten, and one each from Lauren Orr, Oona Johnsen, and Sarah Gottschalk. Ella Maudry and Allie Burke helped out by putting up two assists each, while Kat McElderry kept things locked down in the cage, recording four saves and narrowly missing what would have been her first shutout of the season.
Saturday’s game against Reynolds was canceled, but now that the pool maintenance at the Hood River Aquatic Center is coming to an end, HRV will host its first home contest of the season, taking on 6A Grant (1-2) Tuesday. Water polo competitions start at the pool at 5:30 p.m. all season long.