September 9-10 Girls Varsity Water Polo

Lady Dons Earn Bronze in Acalanes Invitational Ladies Varsity Water Polo.

Acalanes hosted the annual Acalanes Invitational women’s Water Polo tournament on September 9 and 10th. The tournament featured an array of teams representing multiple athletic leagues and both the North Coast and Central Coast sections.

The Lady Dons drew a large crowd for their first game of the tournament which, for the first time ever, was held during lunch. Acalanes handled the game of the tournament with relative ease as the team defeated Foothill High School 16-3 .

Acalanes carried the energy from their first game into their next match up against reigning Division I North Coast Section Champions, the Monte Vista Mustangs. Through four quarters of intense play, the Lady Dons were able to squeeze out a 5-4 upset over last years top team in the North Coast Section.

With another win under their belt, the Lady Dons advanced to the semi-finals to face their rivals the Campolindo Cougars. The Dons played a heated and exciting match against the Cougars in last year’s Division II North Coast Section finals but were edged out 8-5 and earned the silver medal.

As pumped up as the Lady Dons were going into the game, they were at a clear disadvantage seeing that one of their top players, senior Barbara Lanier, was out with an injured shoulder. Lanier is regarded as one of the premier players in the North Coast Section, and her loss cleary hindered the Lady Dons’ performance.

In the first quarter, the Dons were able to hang with the Cougars but finished down 3-1 in the Cougar’s favor. Through strong offensive play, led by senior Molly Quinn who scored two goals and earned two ejections, and a good team defense, led by senior Lizzie Newman, the Dons were able cut the lead to 4-2 at half time.

In the third quarter, the Dons began to break apart at the seams. After a series of questionable calls made by the referees, head coach Misha Buchel yelled out in protest and earned a red card, requiring him to leave the pool deck. Campolindo took control of the rest of the game and ultimately beat Acalanes 9-4 to advance to the tournament championship.

Even though the Lady Dons’ hope for gold in the tournament was over, they still had another game to play for third place. At 2:30 in the afternoon on Saturday, September 10, the Lady Dons played Los Altos Eagles for the third place finish.

The Dons came out of the gate fast in the first quarter, lead once again by Quinn who drew two ejections and a five meter penalty shot. At the end of the first quarter of play, the Dons led Los Altos 2-1 and were able to hold their one goal lead throughout the second quarter, complemented by phenomenal defense from Newman and a goal by Senior Sam Sciacqua. The Lady Dons led 3-2 at half time.

The game was up for grabs going into the fourth quarter with the score tied at 3. Neither team took advantage of their offensive opportunities until the final two seconds of the game. Junior Megan Deitrich caught the ball and fired a shot into the back of the net, giving the Dons a 4-3 victory.

The Lady Dons earned the the bronze medal despite battling injuries of key players. All in all, the Invitational was a success for the team and the entire Lady Dons water polo program.

-Tommy Bush Blueprint Staff Writer