High School Sports

Atascadero water polo having its best season in years behind this goal-scoring goalie

Atascadero High goalkeeper Tina Bell scored two goals against Santa Ynez in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs, giving her 13 goals on the season.
Atascadero High goalkeeper Tina Bell scored two goals against Santa Ynez in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs, giving her 13 goals on the season. Travis Gibson

Tina Bell did it again Tuesday at the Arroyo Grande High School pool.

The Atascadero High School senior scored twice in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 5 playoffs against Santa Ynez. Making her game even more impressive was the fact that Bell was able to do her damage as a goalkeeper — scoring both goals from 20 meters away.

“Nobody expects a goalie to shoot, but she does,” Atascadero head coach Jon Conrad said. “I have never had such a talented goalie where she can be an offensive threat. It’s almost unstoppable.”

Bell’s second goal, her 13th of the season, was a perfectly placed floating shot just over the outreached hands of the Santa Ynez goalkeeper. The goal put Atascadero up 7-1, and the Greyhounds would go on to win 8-2 to advance to the second round.

Bell is part of a group of nine seniors that has helped the Greyhounds to their best record (19-8, 6-2 PAC 8) in three years. Atascadero beat Division 4 Cabrillo earlier this season, and its win over Righetti the following week was the first time in seven seasons the Greyhounds had beat one of the best teams in the PAC 8.

“This year we have worked strong as a team instead of individuals. That helps a lot,” Bell said.

Seniors Evy Cooper (2), Ali Marshall (2) and Brooke Story (1) all scored in the win over Santa Ynez.

“I have coached them for three years, and they have all progressed as athletes,” Conrad said. “It’s really fun to see them get better.”

Atascadero, who played at Arroyo Grande High because its pool is bigger and fit for playoff competition, will be on the road Thursday in the second round against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Arlington High and Temescal Canyon.

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