Winning their opening round game in the Division III NorCals, ousting Tulare Western on Nov. 19, the varsity water polo Mustangs then fell just a little short against Northgate on Nov. 21.
The squad, which capped a Section-title winning season with the trip to the NorCals, got to stay home for both games they played in the competition.
“I’m really happy with the boys’ performance in the NorCal tournament. We were one of only two teams in our section to advance to the semifinal games, and getting to host both games was fun too,” said head coach Savannah Martin.
On Tuesday, Nov. 21, it was a 16-10 decision over Tulare Western.
Scoring goals for the Mustangs were David Terwilliger, 4; Stash Perry, 3 including a 5-meter free shot; Chandler Neal, 3; Ethan Perry, 2; Dyllon Jones, 2; Lorenzo Klose, 1; Jude Krick, 1.
Down 4-3 after one, the Mustangs regrouped and took an 8-5 lead at the half. They equaled their first half scoring total over the third and fourth periods to take a 16-10 victory, keyed by a strong overall defensive effort anchored by junior goalie Gage Ferreira.
They then hosted the Northgate Broncos out of Walnut Creek on Thursday, Nov. 21 and took a hard fought 10-8 loss. Northgate took down Buhach Colony, 13-5, in the opening round to earn the right to face off with Oakdale at the Oakdale Aquatic Center.
The visitors opened up a 2-0 lead in the first period on Thursday night and outscored the Mustangs 4-2 in the second period to take a 6-2 lead at the half.
Stash Perry had Oakdale’s first goal of the night, a 5-meter shot, in the second period and added his second goal of the night with less than a minute remaining in the half.
Brother Ethan Perry opened the second half scoring, trimming the lead to 6-3 with a goal just 23 seconds into the third period. Northgate countered to make it 7-3, but Ethan Perry scored again to make it 7-4 after three.
Stash Perry (5 meter) and Lorenzo Klose found the back of the net to open the final period, making it a one-goal game, Northgate leading 7-6. The teams traded goals the rest of the way, Northgate going up 8-6, Klose scoring to make it 8-7. Another Northgate goal made it 9-7 and Stash Perry had the final goal for Oakdale to make it 9-8 with 1:30 to play. A Northgate tally with 30 seconds to go sealed the win for the visitors.
“We felt good about the way we played against Northgate. The boys really focused on doing things well that we had focused on all season, which included supporting each other whether we were winning or not,” Martin noted. “That showed in the way they came back in the second half of the game, then hugged and celebrated each other after even though we didn’t win. I’m probably most proud of that level of team unity that came out of all this.”