CHIEFTAINS BLOW PAST PATRIOTS AT HOME, STORM THEIR WAY INTO IMPROBABLE LEAGUE TITLE BOUT:
One month ago today, the state of the Clairemont Girl’s Water Polo season was desperate. The girls had just come off a 12–6 loss to Patrick Henry and were sitting near last with a 5-12 record, 1-2 league record, and a bleak hope of making CIF. That was then. This is now. The Lady Chiefs have since completely turned their season around, catching fire here in the final weeks to storm their way into what one month ago seemed like an impossibility: the League Championship Game.
Patrick Henry is just the latest to fall on the Chieftain’s 4 game win streak, and 6th win in 7 games. Clairemont got going early and never looked back. Chieftain Junior Abby Keegan gave the Patriots fits all game, and forced a triple team in the center for the entirety of the match. Senior Kyla Kleege opened up the scoring by stepping into a lane created by this triple team and scored a laser beam to put Clairemont ahead 1-0. On the next Chieftain possession, Kleege would find a triple teamed Keegan in center, who managed to fight through three defenders to power a shot home. Senior Zoe Currigan would add her first of six goals on the night in transition to put her team up 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Chieftan defense was magnificent through the first quarter, completely stifling the Patriot attack thanks largely to the wall Junior goaltender Hope Lovich was putting up in front of the goal.
The Chiefs would continue to roll in the second quarter. Abby Keegan earned a power play for her team that would lead to a Zoe Currigan goal and a 4-0 lead. Patrick Henry’s talented and physical center would finally find some space midway through the second quarter, scoring twice to pull her team within two, but that was as close to a rally as the Patriots would get in this game. Junior Ella Denny would find Zoe Currigan twice in the final 3 minutes of the first half to help reestablish the 4 goal lead. Henry’s talented center got open once again and put away her third to bring the game to 6-3 at half.
Unshaken, Clairemont would explode out the gate in the second half. Freshmen Phoebe Currigan stepped into another lane created by the triple team on Keegan, lobbing a shot just over the Henry goaltender’s fingers and into the back of the goal to put Clairemont up 7-3. Phoebe Currigan came though again on the following possession by finding Keegan in center, who wheeled around a blasted one over the goaltender’s head. The Chieftain’s success continued on the very next possession. Junior Ella Denny took advantage of the Keegan triple team by stepping in and ripping a shot cross cage to expand the lead to 9-3. Senior Emily Hascall was huge defensively in the third quarter as she managed to handle Henry’s talented center player single handedly, preventing the girl from even touching the ball for the remainder of the game. Henry was finally able to stop the bleeding with a pair of goals before the end of the quarter, but their deficit was still 10-5.
The final frame continued in Clairemont’s favor. Patrick Henry altered their tactic and began an unorthodox style of play in an attempt to catch the Chieftains off guard and sway the momentum in their favor. After securing a goal from this wild tactic, Clairemont wisened up and shut down the Patriots new attack the rest of the way. The death knell came when Henry ran a play off a timeout, successfully located their best player, but were thwarted by a brilliant defensive move from Freshmen Fiona Flanagan to steal the ball away. Flanagan then turned around immidiately and found Senior Reina Salcedo countering hard down the middle of the pool, who managed to convert the breakaway into a score. The wind was taken out of the Patrick Henry sails from this point on. Zoe Currigan would add one more for extra measure, and the Chieftains ultimately reign supreme with a 12-6 final score.
Goals – Zoe Currigan (6), Abby Keegan (2), Kyla Kleege (1), Ella Denny (1), Phoebe Currigan (1)
Assists – Hope Lovich (4), Ella Denny (4), Phoebe Currigan (2), Kyla Kleege (1), Zoe Currigan (1)
Steals – Hope Lovich (6), Kyla Kleege (6), Phoebe Currigan (2), Reina Salcedo (1), Brooke Hilton (1), Fiona Flanagan (1), Ella Denny (1), Emily Hascall (1), Zoe Currigan (1)
Saves – Hope Lovich (13)
The Lady Chiefs improve to 11-13 on the season and 3-2 in league play. Up next, the girls take on University City at UCSD on Thursday evening at 4pm. THIS IS THE LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, SO COME OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR LADY CHIEFS!!!!