La Quinta girls' water polo breezes into next round

La Quinta girls' water polo breezes into next round

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La Quinta girls' water polo breezes into next round

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LA QUINTA

As far as La Quinta High School girls’ water polo victories go, this one was more lackluster than blockbuster.

The Blackhawks weren’t exactly crisp during Tuesday’s CIF Division VI playoff game, but the idea is to win and advance and La Quinta did that with ease, winning 9-3.

La Quinta had talked about their opponent, Malibu, awaiting a chance at redemption. This is the same school that knocked the Blackhawks’ boys’ team out of a CIF finals appearance.

Some of the players blamed the lack of sharpness on a lazy, three-day holiday weekend and being out of sync. Others said the Sharks’ slow pace held them back. La Quinta held Malibu to a single goal in the first half and did enough to advance to play at Pasadena Poly on Thursday.

“We just weren’t ready,” said senior Irie Jimenez, who scored a second-half goal and was solid on defense. “We had some bad passes and we weren’t really cooperating with each other and talking with each other as we normally do.”

La Quinta was by far the better team despite the pace of play.

Hunter Olivier scored twice in the first period and Kaelyn Martinez also tallied. Malibu’s Raine Murray netted the only goal of the half as goalie Juliana Someday was rarely tested and when she was, she stopped whatever came her way.

La Quinta added four unanswered goals in the second period, back-to-back scores from Brooke Smith, another from Olivier while Natalie Hampton closed out the half. Someday was also able to keep the Sharks at bay when she made two nice stops in the final 30 seconds of the half.

“We slowed down,” said La Quinta coach Cal Lowell, whose team improved to 17-8 overall. “We ran into each other, missed passes. We were out of sync, but we were better then them.”

La Quinta had twice as many shots on goal as Malibu (10-13), the third-place team out of the Tri-Valley League but missed out when some hit the side posts, sailed over the crossbar or a player couldn’t convert a rebound.

Olivier had a shot blocked by Shark’s goalie Sara Toussieng midway through the third, then Malibu’s Sophie Peterson cut it to 7-2 at 3:07. Smith just missed a minute later, but Jimenez was able to tally off a rebound to make it 8-2 with less than a minute remaining.

“We knew nothing about them and had to come out to see that they could handle,” said La Quinta senior Yolette Loredo. “We did come out a little slow, but we know now we have to work hard at the next practice, work as a unit, focus and get those passes down.”

La Quinta faces Pasadena Poly on Thursday, the Prep League champ, now 24-2. If La Quinta earns the victory, it has already been determined that the Blackhawks will play at home Saturday.

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