GIRLS WATER POLO: Exeter Monarchs place fifth at Tulare tourney

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By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

TULARE – The Exeter Monarchs’ (3-1) journey to defend their Central Sequoia League title began last weekend at the Tulare Union Tournament. Facing mostly East and West Yosemite League teams, they finished in fifth place with a 3-1 record.

“We’ve got to be happy with our three wins,” said Exeter head coach Patrick Hendricks. “All the games that we played in were great team efforts.”

All of the Monarchs’ offensive players contributed in one way or another. In the four games, all 10 averaged at least one assist and seven of the players at least one goal.

During their final game of the tournament on Saturday against the Mission Oak Hawks, the Monarchs had to endure some physical play in order to get their 8-3 win. The physicality of the game got so intense at times that four of the Mission Oak players were eventually ejected from the game.

“I am really happy with the girls, that they kept their composure and did not retaliate,” said Coach Hendricks.

Earlier on Saturday, the Monarchs needed overtime to defeat the Hanford Bullpups 8-7. In the sudden death period, Alli Smith scored the game-winning goal.

On Thursday, during in their opener, the Monarchs faced off against the Golden West Trailblazers, the team that eliminated them from the D-II Valley Championship playoffs last season. Both teams battled in a close game, but it was the Monarchs who emerged victorious 12-10.

Thirty minutes later, Exeter was back in the pool taking on Central Sequoia League rival the Kingsburg Vikings. Fatigue played a big part in this game as the Vikings defeated the Monarchs 8-1.

“I think they’ll be a good match, but we believe we can play with them,” said Hendricks.

Ashley Howell led the team with eight goals in the tournament. On the defensive side, goal keeper Morgan Weldon stopped 25 shots.

The Monarchs have their home opener tonight at 5:30 p.m. against the Tulare Western Mustangs. With four games already under their caps, the Monarchs look to continue working on their passing and dictating their pace of play on opponents.

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