WATER POLO: Marauders blow Falcons out of the water

The Monache Marauders gain valuable experience and teach some lessons in game against the Independence Falcons

PORTERVILLE – The Monache Marauders beat the Independence Falcons the first water polo game of the season for the Falcons boys team and second of the season for the Falcons girls team. For both teams, the non-league game was less about winning or losing and more about what they could learn from each other.

The Monache Marauders were quick to pull ahead of the Independence Falcons in both the boys and the girls games, but that was to be expected. The Independence boys team had not played a game before they faced the Marauders and the Independence girls had only played in a single tournament over the weekend.

“It was their very first game in their second season,” Monache boys head coach Paul Suhovy said. “They wanted to play us so we gave them the opportunity to play.”

The Independence Falcons are a young program, both teams are inexperienced. For their head coach Brandon Stevens, it’s important that both of his teams play better teams in order to gain the experience necessary to develop as players and as a team.

“It’s trial by fire,” Stevens said. “I’m proud of them for sticking it out.”

The Falcons were definitely thrown into the fire–or the deep end. In the boys game, Monache quickly put points on the board, scoring on nearly every offensive possession. On defense, the Marauders barely let the Falcons get into position before taking the ball back. Independence barely got any shots off in the first half. By halftime, the Marauders were up 15-0.

Suhovy subbed in his JV team just before halftime. Since Independence doesn’t have a JV team for either boys or girls, some of the JV players subbed in for both the boys and girls games. It was a game for gaining experience for the Marauders just as much as the Falcons.

“We have been working on trying to work the ball around, talking to each other and understanding what’s going on in the game,” Monache girls head coach Hilary Johnson said. “This game really gave us the opportunity to do that.”

The girls didn’t put as many points on the board as the boys, but the Marauders pulled ahead quickly in the girls game as well. Though they did allow fewer goals by the Falcons than the boys. While the Marauders allowed two goals in the final period of the boys game, the Falcons only managed one goal in the first period of the girls game.

The boys finished with a score of 25-2 in Monache’s favor while the girls finished with a score of 17-1 in Monache’s favor. Both Monache coaches had the same strategy in the final period of the game, their team had to set up on offense and pass at least five times to run out the shot clock before allowing the ball to turn over to Independence. This allowed Monache to practice offensive strategies and Independence to practice defensive strategies.

“My philosophy with this program is 1% improvement every day,” Stevens said. “There’s always something we can improve on whether it’s swimming, passing, shooting and defensive tactics. It’s gonna be a long road for 1% improvements over time.”

The Independence boys team will play Tulare Union and Atascadero in a tournament on Sept. 16 while the girls will play Nipomo in a tournament on Sept. 23.

“We’re hoping we can take what we learned and be able to apply that to another good matchup,” Johnson said.

Both Monache teams will face Hanford on Sept. 14.

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