Last Friday and Saturday, Acalanes Girls Water Polo welcomed 33 teams to their annual Acalanes Invitational.
The Varsity team started the tournament with a match against Liberty High School just as the lunch bell rang. AHS students poured into the stands and cheered on their Lady Dons. Senior Wendy Heffelfinger put the Lady Dons on the scoreboard with a goal in the first minute of play. Sophomore Ella Del Rosario quickly added three more goals bringing the score 4-0. Great teamwork by Wendy and sophomore Addison Dankworth for another Aca goal. The quarter ended with a great pass from senior Jenny Haugner into set which allowed freshman Finley Graff to add one more for the Dons. Addison started the second quarter with two more goals, one assisted by senior Liv Hoppe. Ella slid one more in bringing the score to 10-0 to end the half. Junior Levand Koopa started the third quarter with two goals, assisted by seniors Kyra Weiss and Jenny Haugner. Senior Sophie Hendrickson finished up with third quarter with a beautiful shot bringing the score to 12-0. The fourth quarter was full of steals and turnovers but only two additional goals by Finley Graff, bringing the final score to 14-0. A huge shout out to goal tender, Adelyn Horciza, who blocked 10 shots and had some epic steals!
Friday night, the Lady Dons played the Menlo School Knights. The Knights came ready to battle and came out strong scoring the first goal. Ella Del Rosario evened the score and added one more for the Lady Dons bringing the score to 2-1 in the first two minutes of play. Senior Brooklyn Plomp powered one more in but the Knights fought back bringing the score to 4-2. Ella wasn’t finished this quarter and shot two more goals before the end of the first quarter with a score of 6-2. The Knights refused to back down and started the second quarter with back to back goals. Ella and Liv showed some great teamwork earning another goal for Aca to end the first half 7-4. Menlo bounced back and scored first in the third quarter, but Brooklyn answered with a goal of her own, followed by another from Addison. Menlo refused to give up and put another two goals in the cage, but Kyra Weiss, Brooklyn, and Liv each deposited a goal to end the third quarter with a score of 13-7. The fourth quarter included two more goals from Ella and the final goal of the game from Finley Graff with a 16-7 victory for the Dons.
The Lady Dons started the second day facing the Campolindo Cougars. Both teams had very strong defense in the field and in the cages, as a result, only one goal was scored in the first quarter, giving Campo a 1-0 lead. Ella started the second quarter off with a great goal that put the Lady Dons on the scoreboard, but Campo responded with a goal of their own to regain the lead. A penalty shot was the only other goal scored in the first half giving the Cougars a 3-1 lead. Finley Graff started the third quarter off with a goal thanks to a great pass from Ella bringing the score within one to end the third quarter. The Cougars started the fourth quarter off with back to back goals bringing the score 4-2, but Ella responded with a strong shot keeping the Lady Dons within one goal once again. Campo scored two more goals, but Kyra Weiss helped Liv Hoppe send one into the cage to keep the game close. In the last two minutes of the game, Campo scored two more goals and won the game 8-4.
The last game for the Lady Dons was a battle for 3rd place against the Carondelet Cougars. The fans were excited and the girls were exhausted after playing three games of water polo in less than 24 hours. The stands were packed and everyone was anticipating a great battle. Liv Hoppe won the sprint and the Lady Dons started with possession. Strong goal tending prevented any goals until Wendy Heffelfinger stole the ball and passed it to Brooklyn Plomp who scored the first goal of the game. The Cougars fought back with a goal of their own, but Addison Dankworth sent one in to give the 2-1 lead back to the Dons. It didn’t take long for Carondelet to respond with another goal of their own. But Wendy didn’t let the tie stand for long, her goal gave the Dons a 3-2 lead to end the second quarter. The Cougars scored first in quarter three, but Levand Koopa answered that with a gorgeous goal off the top right corner! Carondelet didn’t take long to respond with another goal to tie up the game by the end of the third. The Cougars had momentum and scored first in the fourth quarter giving them the first lead of the game. It wasn’t looking good for the Lady Dons but with 1:29 to go on the clock, Brooklyn tied up the game on a powerplay. The Cougars weren’t backing down and were able to score on a powerplay of their own bringing the score to 6-5 with a minute to go. The Cougars thought they had the win, but with 5 second left, Wendy sailed one in and tied the game once again and the teams were headed to overtime!
OT Rules: Three minutes on the clock, first team to score wins! Ella sprinted her heart out and the Dons took possession. Coach Misha called a timeout, called Adelyn out of the cage to give the Dons a 7-6 man advantage. The Dons moved the ball around looking for the open player when a 2-meter contra foul was called giving Carondelet possession with 2:30 second left on the clock and an empty goal! Carondelet called a timeout which gave the Dons time to get Adelyn back in the goal and set up their defense. The Cougars shot and missed! Brooklyn was prepared and was already halfway down the pool when she received the pass from Adelyn and scored the winning goal and a 3rd place finish!