It was over as soon as it began, as the second-seeded Palm Desert High School girls’ water polo team destroyed visiting Tustin 16-2 on Thursday in a first-round CIF Southern Section Division VI playoff game.
The Aztecs scored their first goal with just 10 seconds off the clock and had scored enough to win less than two minutes into the match.
The Aztecs reeled off an amazing nine goals in the first quarter alone, while blanking the Tillers. Palm Desert fired two more goals in the second period before Tustin managed to get on the board to make it 11-1.
“(Based on) how Tustin did against another team in our area and based on how we’ve played against other teams in their league, I had an idea that it might possibly go that way,” Palm Desert head coach Michelle Stein said. “I didn’t express that to the girls, I just had them come out hard to begin with and, yes, we expected it to possibly go that way.”
Stein’s clandestine plan apparently worked, as she fooled her leading scorer, senior Addi Halligan, who said she wasn’t expecting the blowout.
“We didn’t actually (expect to jump out to such a big lead), we’ve just been working really hard and were ready to take on whoever, Halligan said, “and our plays were working also.”
Halligan scored five on the night, but it certainly wasn’t a one-girl show. Emily Garczynski, Sarah Nichols and Elise Stein each scored three, and Cindy Delic scored the other two.
“We all just worked really hard, because we’ve been working hard for (the CIF playoffs) and it just worked out today, so I’m really happy about it,” Halligan said. “(Five goals is) more than I usually get; everyone’s assists were really good today, everyone was passing really well, so it just turned into goals really easily.”
Tustin head coach Shane Unger shed had some perspective on the Division VI playoff bracket.
“We just played a better team, we hit a buzz saw,” Unger said. “I’ve played both teams: Yorba Linda, who’s No. 1 in this division, and Palm Desert’s 2, and I think Palm Desert’s the better team.”
Tustin came in as an at-large team from the Empire League.
Palm Desert travels to Anaheim to take on Savanna on Saturday morning in the quarterfinals.