On Thursday, January 18, the Islander Girls Varsity Water Polo team hosted Schurr High School, who had traveled all the way from Los Angeles to compete in a non-league game.
The Spartans scored the first goal of the night, and indeed they would experience success in the first period as they tallied five points to the Islanders single goal.
Megan Ledgerwood and Caraline Wastila both had two attempts on goal each, but they either hit the goal post or were deflected by the goalie. It seemed as if luck wasn’t on the Islanders’ side that night as a great number of the girls’ shots just barely glanced off the goal.
Nevertheless, the Islanders shook off their first quarter jitters and headed into the second with a game plan: to narrow the gap. And indeed that’s what they did.
If you know anything about the Islander girls water polo, it’s that they may seem to get off to a slow start; however, once the team finds their footing and gains momentum, there’s no stopping the onslaught of goals that’s bound to come.
Grace Miller and Ledgerwood both made timely interceptions. In fact, throughout the game the two were both key defensive players. They recorded six interceptions between the two of them, a lethal combination that stopped the Spartans from even nearing the goal.
Kyla Granados was also key in the Islander defense. She held the Spartans at bay and had a shot of her own at goal that missed the net by mere inches and instead bounced off the post.
Wastila finally found success and laced one into the back of the net from beyond the five-meter line. Her range was definitely something to look out for that night, and throughout the entire season.
Goalie Harper Gilbert made a key save from a penalty shot and recorded 11 saves, impressive as usual for the D1 UC Davis commit.
Allie Ralston launched one past the goalie’s reach and landed the ball in the net, narrowing the gap to 5-3.
Nearing the end of the second period, Sophia Kenny had her share of the goal-fest.
If three goals in one period isn’t a comeback, I don’t know what is. Not only did the Islanders hold the Spartans from scoring at all, but they managed to crawl back into contention to end halftime at 5-4. This was truly a demonstration of the Islanders’ grit and ability to stay cool, calm, and collected under pressure.
The third period started off with two goals by Schurr, but the Islanders knew they had time to make some moves. Ledgerwood had the goal of the night with a shot that skipped three times before hitting the back of the net.
Wastila scored once again to end the third 8-6.
With the endurance and stamina to push through to the end, the Islanders were looking forward to forcing a playoff. Unfortunately, it seemed as if the stars weren’t aligned in the Islanders’ favor as nearly every shot of theirs either missed the goal by inches or bounced off the posts.
Ledgerwood hurled one into the net, but unfortunately Schurr had a goal of their own. Wastila, Kenny, Ralston, and Ledgerwood all had shots during the fourth.
It was 7-9 with 33 seconds left on the clock, and Granados stepped up and swept one into the net with two defenders on her. Despite the tremendous efforts, it wasn’t enough as the Islanders lost 9-8.
It was a narrow loss, but for a fast-paced game like this one you couldn’t be anything but proud of the way the girls rallied and put themselves in contention until the very end.
The Islanders will celebrate their seniors during Senior Night next week, date and time to be determined.