The girls water polo (19-4 overall, 5-2 Peninsula Athletic League) season ended on Nov. 8 in a close loss against Valley Christian (18-11 overall, 3-2 WCAL) 8-6 in the Central Coast Section semifinals.
Besides just parents and friends, the match drew many Aragon staff members to attend the game, including principal Patricia Kurtz.
“They’re just a good group of young women who are working well together as a team,” Kurtz said. “[They] have been getting better and better throughout the season.”
Coming into the game, the Dons knew they were matched up against a strong opponent.
“They’re the No. 1 seed in our division, but they definitely look beatable,” said assistant coach Lauren Padilla. We just need to get our offense up and take our shots,”
Proving to be a difficult opponent, the Warriors led 3-1 by the end of the quarter. Despite trailing, the Dons managed to tie it up by halftime, bringing the score up to 4-4.
“I made sure I was with my opponent the whole time,” said sophomore Hannah Kawar. “I didn’t let her slip past me.”
However, the Dons strong defense also allowed other teammates to take their chance on offense.
“Sometimes you just get caught up on defense,” said senior Olivia Tobin. “[Juniors Maria] Sell [and] Hannah Flynn, Kawar, [senior] Vanessa [Somoza], and everybody stepped up to play on offense.”
Sell led the Dons throughout the first three quarters, taking 15 shots and scoring four consecutive goals.
“It’s normal for me to get quite a few shots,” she said. “But those all come from really good passes … or just steals, which is great.”
The Dons countered in the third quarter, leading 7-6 by the end of the quarter.
“We really try to press them very hard in all areas, and really not giving up and trying to prevent all shots,” Padilla said. “We want the other team to waste their clock without getting a shot off … we gave it every chance trying to drop into hole set … and forcing the shots into hole set.”
Aragon kept this lead and added on one more goal in the fourth quarter, until the Warriors tied the game 8-8, which brought it into overtime. The Dons fell behind during overtime, when two kickouts for Aragon brought the Warriors to a 10-8 lead to win the game.
“They played really tough defense,” Padilla said. “They were pressing us all the time and were giving us small windows of opportunities to shoot.”
The Dons’ offense had a disadvantage on the offense, as they had seven ejections throughout the game, while the Warriors only had one.
“We were just too aggressive and wanted to make sure they couldn’t shoot,” said head coach Roxanne Tursi.
However, Tobin believes the Dons had a strong defense throughout the game.
“I think our communication was really good, we shut down a lot of counter goals,” she said. “Our defense was totally rocking even though we lost.”
The loss marks the end of the 2017 season for the Dons, as they capped it off with their first appearance in the CCS semifinals since 2009.