By DOMINIC RIOS
On Jan. 17, 2017 the Wildcat and Blackhawk Water Polo teams battled in a 3 overtime quarter game.
The first whistle blows to begin the game and REV Senior Morgan Kramer wins the first sprint of the game. The Blackhawks and Wildcats go back and forth, fighting for a chance to score the first goal of the game; Wildcats number 15 Lauren Ngo gets excluded, and the Blackhawks play with an extra-man. Then Blackhawks number 13 Melisa Chester puts the ball in the back of the cage with 10 seconds left on the shot clock and 5:05 left in the first quarter. The Blackhawks score the first goal of the game. The Wildcats didn’t want to go down without a fight and on their next offensive possession they got to play with an extra-man, as the Blackhawks number 6 Hailey Coleman was excluded and Wildcats lefty Morgan scores with 4:42 on the game clock. A few possessions later, Wildcats 14 Zoe Coonrod gets excluded and then gets a penalty called against her so the Blackhawks gat to shoot a 5-meter. Cameron number 19 from Citrus Valley takes the shot and scores so the Blackhawks are up 2-1 with 3:44 left in the quarter. The Wildcats fight to try and score another goal in the quarter as Melisa from CV was excluded with 3:26 left but the Wildcats couldn’t bury the ball in the back of the cage and then were given a second chance as number 9 Sydney was excluded but the Wildcats still were not able to score. The horn goes off and that is the end of the first quarter with CV leading 2-1.
Wildcats #2 Liberty Williams sprints the second quarter and wins the sprint. The Blackhawks steal the ball and number 5 Mary Lombard from REV gets a 5-meter called against her. The ball is shot and senior Natalie Rees blocks the ball to hold CV at 2 goals. A few plays later Ahliya Gloudman scores for REV and the game is tied 2-2. 6:08 left in the first half and the girls just swim back and forth until REV #7 scores to give REV their first lead of the game. After that CV #13 and REV #10 and 2 all get excluded but neither team could score with a man up. Then with 1:43 left in the quarter number 10 Senior Veronica Coen scores and puts the Wildcats ahead by 2 goals. Neither team was able to score for the remainder of the first half.
Then the third quarter begins and Morgan starts it by winning the sprint then scoring a goal later in the quarter with 5:43 remaining. Now the Wildcats get their chance at a 5-meter as number 13 had a 5-meter called against her which gave her a 3rd exclusion meaning that she fouled out and could not come in for the remainder of the game. Wildcats #10 shoots and it is blocked by Mckenzie Gonzales. Veronica from the Wildcats number 10 had been excluded a second time but they prevented the Blackhawks from scoring. Then Citrus Valley Sydney Negrette scores to put the Blackhawks behind 5-3 with 1:38 left in the 3rd. Then with 38 seconds left Emily Gloudman was excluded but the Blackhawks were unable to score. The fourth quarter is about to begin and both teams are exhausted just trying to fight for the win.
The fourth quarter begins and Wildcats #2 wins the sprint, but later #10 Veronica Coen gets her 3rd personal foul and is also fouled out of the game. The Blackhawks get a 5-meter and Jayden Sanford is able to score the 5-meter and then scores again a couple of minutes later. The remainder of the quarter has a kick out against REV with a CV timeout then kick out against CV and timeout REV. CV and REV both has another kick out right after that but neither team could score on any of these extra man goals. REV calls another timeout and is unable to score then is a man down 30 seconds later. 17 seconds left in the game and the score is tied 5-5 with REV calling their final timeout. They take the ball and try to get a quick goal to put them in the lead but take a shot and are unable to score so the Blackhawks take their final timeout with 10 seconds left in the game. The Wildcats took the biggest risk with 10 seconds left to try and win and they had 5 people plus the goalie defending the cage and Morgan on the Blackhawks half of the pool hopping to get a quick steal and pass the ball to her for a quick goal just her and the goalie. The time is ticking down and the Wildcats steal the ball with approximately 3 seconds left. They take a long shot and pass her the ball. By the time she caught it and was getting ready to shoot it the clock was a little under 1 second but the horn never went off. She fires a shot center cage because the goalie is not in the cage and the ball goes into the back of the cage, but the ball was released after the final buzzer so the goal did not count and both teams would have to go into overtime. In standard overtime they both get 1 more time out plus any timeouts they have remaining which neither team had any. They play 2 quarters, 3 minutes long each and switch sides in between quarters. Whichever team had the higher score won. The first overtime begins and Liberty wins the sprints for the Wildcats but they are not able to make a goal out of it and later in the quarter Hailey Coleman scores to give the Blackhawks the lead 6-5 with 1:19 left in the first overtime. Neither team scores and so the second overtime period begins and Liberty wins the sprint again. Wildcat #9 Ahliya scores with 1:05 left and ties the game.
The final overtime period continues and the game is coming down to the wire as neither team wants to lose. The final 30 seconds of the quarter are here and the first 22 go by with nothing until the Wildcats take a hail mary and call a timeout with 8 seconds left to score a last resort type of a goal. The Wildcats fire and the ball misses the cage and goes out of play with 2 seconds left so the Blackhawks call their timeout with 2 seconds and now try their hail mary. Off of the line up their team crowds anything from 2 meters to 5 meters inside the post of the goal. So there are 12 girls crowded in a 3 meters distance plus the REV goalie. The whistle is blown and the goalie lobs the ball into the middle of the crowd to get one of the girls anywhere in the group no matter what team to tip the ball into the cage and give them the win. The ball is tipped and blocked out of play so the regular overtime period had ended. The teams were now going into golden goal where the first team to score wins. Start of the second quarter and Liberty wins the sprint for the wildcats hoping to put the game away in the first possession. Both teams fight to not get scored on and the Wildcats have the ball with 2:30 left and they pass it to the left side of the cage to Morgan who takes a shot to end the game and it hits the bar and floats just outside the cage. Luckily her teammate #2 Liberty Williams was there to tip the ball and get it to float into the cage with 2:22 left on the clock. That goal had ended the game as the Wildcats had beaten the Blackhawks in a thrilling 7 quarter golden goal game.
Now the last game of the season for both teams. Whoever won this game would be the team who takes 4th place in league and gets a wild card game in CIF Playoffs. Neither team wants to give in to the other from the first whistle to the last whistle. The game begins and Wildcats #2 wins the sprint and they have the first possession. The game begins in a stalemate neither team giving an inch, until Liberty Williams from REV has her girl beat by 2-3 yards and Natalie Rees gives her a perfect pass. The Wildcats have a 2 on 1 counter attack with a trailer. CV defense goes to attack the ball and Liberty makes the pass to her teammate Veronica who is 1 on 1 with the goalie. She pump fakes several times, catches the goalie off guard, and lobs the ball right over her head and the Wildcats take the lead 1-0 with 4:50 left to play. Shortly after the girls are yet again 6 on 5 from a counter attack and pass the ball to the low left wing where Ahliyah Gloudman is and she throws an off speed shot to the near side as goalkeeper Mckenzie Gonzales fumbles to get the ball out of the cage; but, it was too late as REV had just taken a 2-0 lead over the Blackhawks. After that the game became a game of tennis as both teams would score back and forth looking for the quick shot. It started with the Blackhawks #5 Kelsey Cauldren who scored first for the Blackhawks when they were a man up. Then Morgan Kramer scores to give the wildcats their 2 goal lead 3-1 with 2:41 left in the first. Shortly after Kelsey scores another goal as well as her teammate #19 Cameron. The Wildcats still had 2:00 left on the clock to take back their lead which is what they did in the last minute starting with Morgan Kramer and then Lauren Ngo. The first quarter ended and the second one began and Liberty won the sprint again and Morgan Kramer scored again with 6:07 left before halftime. Then Jayden from CV scores to make the score 4-6, but Morgan scores yet again almost 3 minutes later as the crowd roars and keeps pushing for the wildcats to score 1 more and keep it going. REV takes a timeout a little later but could not score a goal right away until later when Bailey Weiner scored from center to put the wildcats ahead by 4, 8-4. Then then with less than a minute left Kramer gets her first exclusion of the game but citrus could not score off of it.
To start the third quarter Liberty loses the sprint to Citrus Valley’s #4 and Kramer gets her second exclusion early in the third as she is now in foul trouble. The tide begins to change as the Blackhawks call a timeout and then #2 scores the extra-man goal. Then #19 scores again almost 3 minutes later to make the score 8-6 with REV still on top. The next two minutes the girls go back and forth again until Bailey scores another goal to break the stalemate and the wildcats have a 3 goal lead again. Finally the fourth quarter begins and Liberty wins the sprint and the stalemate continues until the unpredictable happens. Morgan Kramer had gotten her third exclusion of the game and was now out for the remainder of the game and as she got out of the water she looks at the clock in disappointment, as it is still early in the quarter and anyone could still win the game. The Wildcats try and make the best of the situation as over the course of the next 3 minutes Veronica had scored two goals for REV and Kelsey had scored 1 for the Blackhawks. REV calls a timeout with 1:31 left on the clock and a safe 11-7 lead. Finally as the game is drawing to the wire in the last 30 seconds and rev still has a 4 goal lead Bailey scores with 29 seconds left, Kelsey scores for CV with 19 seconds left, REV calls a timeout with 19 seconds left and plan to try and run 1 more play but CV gets the ball four seconds later and also calls a timeout. There is 15 seconds left and they crowd the middle of the cage again like they tried to do the first time the two teams played in overtime, but this time just barely missing. Then CV gets the ball again with 4 seconds left and calls a timeout and after their final timeout, Bailey gets ejected with 2 seconds left and the final buzzer goes off before CV could get a shot off.
The Wildcats had beaten the Blackhawks and now have a wildcard game on Tuesday, Feb. 14th. That game, the top scorers were REV’s Morgan Kramer and CV’s Kelsey Cauldren with 4 goals a piece as well as REV’s Veronica Coen and Bailey Weiner each with 3 goals. The Wildcats now practice and prepare to focus as they play a wildcard round in CIF and have a chance to go all the way to the top and become CIF Champions. The Citrus Belt league’s top 5 teams are Citrus Valley, Redlands East Valley, Redlands High, Cajon, and Yucaipa high after their games played on Feb. 9.