High School Sports

Arroyo Grande water polo opens league play with a win

Sarah Parson of Arroyo Grande High School shoots around Makenna Pugh of Paso Robles. Paso Robles hosted Arroyo Grande in a girls high school water polo match.
Sarah Parson of Arroyo Grande High School shoots around Makenna Pugh of Paso Robles. Paso Robles hosted Arroyo Grande in a girls high school water polo match. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The Arroyo Grande High water polo team won 8-0 over Paso Robles at the Muncipal Pool to kick off the PAC 8 season in Paso Robles on Tuesday. Sarah Parsons scored three goals, and Kate Empey and Sarah Kasper had two goals apiece for the Eagles, who improve to 5-1 on the season. Madison Barneich chipped in with another goal for Arroyo Grande. It was the 120th straight league win for the Eagles.

Arroyo Grande used quick, crisp passing to navigate the Bearcat defense, with senior goalkeeper Emily Sonny throwing pinpoint outlet passes to streaking attackers on the break.

“She has a great arm for us and leading our counterattack,” coach Steven Allen said. “Wherever we need it to go, she can pretty much put it there.”

The Bearcats looked to beat the Eagles down the pool when they could, but they often had trouble finding an outlet pass from the back and were forced to rush a shot as the 30-second shot clock dwindled. Several shots hit the crossbar for the Bearcats, who couldn’t find a way past Sonny. Sonny had 15 saves on the day.

The unique shallow pool at Paso Robles always makes things interesting. The only other school with a pool like it is Atascadero. Paso Robles’ pool begins at three feet on one side and decends to 11 1/2 on the other, giving one team a distinct advantage for a quarter, before the teams switch.

“The goalie has a big advantage. You’re normally used to eggbeatering up, and you have to stay down,” Allen said. “It’s pretty tough for us.”

Arroyo Grande’s only loss of the season came in the championship game of El Niño Tournament last week. The tournament and subsequent loss helped prepare the Eagles for league play by exposing some weaknesses, Allen said.

The Eagles have multiple players capable for scoring, which makes the team hard to defend.

“It’s pretty fortunate how deep we are this year,” Allen said. “We probably (have) eight, nine, maybe even 10 girls in there that can go into that lineup and make some trouble for other teams.”

The Eagles play Ventura on Dec. 29 in a nonleague contest. The Bearcats host Lompoc on Dec. 17 in nonleague action.

  Comments