WATER POLO: GHS girls cap undefeated league season with 10-5 win

Senior Chelsea Hill swims past a defender for the loose

The Gilroy High girls varsity water polo team closed out a
perfect regular-season run through the Tri-County Athletic League
with a 10-5 victory over Stevenson on Wednesday in Gilroy.
The Gilroy High girls varsity water polo team closed out a perfect regular-season run through the Tri-County Athletic League with a 10-5 victory over Stevenson on Wednesday in Gilroy.

Senior goalie Devan Lauber held the Pirates (14-9, 7-2 TCAL) to just three goals through the first three periods of play as she and seven other seniors celebrated Senior Day with the win.

“I think I have learned how the game is played (over the last four years),” Lauber said. “I think we have just become more of a team and they have helped me be a better goalie.”

Lauber batted away 15 saves in the match.

“It’s just reflexes, I guess,” Lauber said. “You just have to get a hand up there. Sometimes that all you can do.”

Along with Lauber, Chelsea Hill, Leah Ailes, Lauren Rhodes, Nicole Nelsen, Heather O’Connor, Brittany Smith and Francesca Filice were honored after the game – the later two anchor the Junior Varsity squad.

Though it may have been the final regular-season affair in their home pool, the Mustangs (15-1, 9-0 TCAL) will play the first two rounds of the league championship tournament at GHS next week.

The Mustangs fell behind 1-0 early in Wednesday’s game on a goal by Stevenson’s Holly Carlsburg. However, they wouldn’t trail again.

Rhodes evened things at 1-1 with midway through the first and Hill gave the Mustangs the lead on their next possession.

GHS seized control in the second period, scoring five unanswered goals before the Pirates tallied with 57 second to play before the break.

Ailes assisted on Hill’s second goal of the game for a 3-1 lead and Michelle Shields countered after a Pirates’ turnover, taking a long pass for Rhodes and burying the shot. Hill, who finished with five goals, scored twice more in the quarter and, and Shields, who had three total, added the final goal of the half for a 7-2 advantage.

Rhodes and Hill helped GHS to a 9-3 lead after the third as the Mustangs cruised to the final horn in the fourth.

“We are really close to our coach (Sean LaGuardia). We are like a family,” Lauber said.

Definite schedules for the TCAL tournament will not be finalized until Friday. The top three finishers coming out of the tournament qualify for the Central Coast Section playoffs.

The Mustangs placed second at last season’s TCAL’s to advance to the program’s first postseason.

“We have to play as a team and can’t rely on any specific players,” Lauber said.

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