The streak continues.
A league winning streak that began in 2003 was extended to 121 wins in a row Tuesday when the Arroyo Grande girl’s water polo team defeated Righetti 8-3 in Arroyo Grande.
The matchup between two of the top teams in the PAC 7 started off slowly, as a steady rain and a brilliant rainbow hovered over the campus. A physical slopfest with turnovers and fouls flooded the first half and resulted in a 2-1 Arroyo Grande advantage at the break.
“A little rocky for us to start. But after halftime, we really just stopped taking exclusions on defense,” said Arroyo Grande coach Steven Allen. “We just kept giving up a possession every single time. I told them, ‘Just let them go. We will be ok.’ ”
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OK they were.
Led by the deft passing touch of Emily Sonny in goal, the Arroyo Grande offensive attack came alive in the second half with six goals, including two goals by senior Kate Empey.
“I just think we had a lot of built-up energy because we had high hopes to play really well, and we weren’t doing so well. So, we were getting a little flustered,” Empey said. “But then we relaxed a little bit, and (Coach) Allen just told us what we needed to do, and we pulled through.”
Empey and Sonny, who had 13 saves, along with Arden Taylor and Amanda Bernard are the only seniors on this year’s squad. A little bit of that inexperience showed up on Tuesday.
“Our physicality at times can get a little aggressive, and we just have to learn when to use it and when not to,” Allen said. “But that’s just being young.”
Arroyo Grande freshman Sam Vitt — who was probably still in diapers when the league winning streak began — has been a key contributor and starter for Arroyo Grande (8-1, 2-0 PAC 7).
Vitt didn’t score, but she helped control a normally high-powered Warriors offense.
“It’s been pretty cool,” Allen said. “I’ve had a lot of freshmen that have come through and play varsity but never ones that have been inserted in the starting lineup. The future is bright with her.”
Empey said she enjoys being a mentor for Vitt and the other younger players.
“It’s more fun for me because I get to see who is coming up next and what I can tell them to help them out,” Empey said. “To me (Vitt) acts like she is my age group. She knows what she is doing, and she is willing to learn stuff.”
While the younger group develops, the Eagles will continue to rely on Empey and Sonny — who will play at Arizona State next year — and Sarah Parson, who led Arroyo Grande with three goals against Righetti.
“Really, our counter-attack is our game, especially when Sarah was not having one of her best games this season,” Allen said. “But the counter attack is really what is going to lead to our goals.”
Arroyo Grande will have a chance to extend its winning streak to 122 next Tuesday against San Luis Obispo, a team that lost to Righetti 17-2 last month.