Monache holds off Mt. Whitney

Monache’s Andrew Baxter looks to make a pass against Mt. Whitney on Wednesday night. Monache defeated Mt. Whitney, 11-8, to snap an eight-match losing streak for the Marauders.(Kason Clark)

Monache boys water polo survived a comeback from Mt. Whitney Pioneers to win 11-8; the win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Marauders

VISALIA – It was a game of runs between Monache and Mt. Whitney boys water polo on Wednesday, Oct. 4. When the night started, Monache jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the Pioneers. Mt. Whitney then came back to take an 8-6 lead early in the fourth quarter.

With time running out, the Marauders went on another 5-0 run to close out the game and walk away with the 11-8 victory. After letting go of the lead earlier in the game, Monache head coach Colton Pierce was impressed with his team’s resiliency.

“Our boys showed a lot of grit and determination today and they really excelled,” Pierce said. “I was extremely proud of them and the work that they put in.”

With their comeback victory, the Marauders improved their overall record to 6-12 and 1-3 in the East Yosemite League. Along with clinching a spot in the postseason, the Marauders snapped an eight-game losing streak.

“We had taken some hard losses in some close games so for us to get this win, it means a lot and it saves a lot of our morale on our team,” Pierce said.

When the night started, it looked like the Marauders would cruise to victory. In the first quarter, the Marauders raced out to a 4-0 lead. Carson Kaiser then scored to give Monache a 5-0 lead to start the second. With eight straight losses heading into the night, Andrew Baxter and the Marauders knew they needed to execute from the jump.

“We just had really good ball movement. I feel like we were just playing as a team,” Baxter said. “We just all came out with the right mindset that we wanted to actually win this one.”

But the Pioneers got hot with a pair of goals to make it a 5-2 game at halftime. The Pioneers then scored five straight goals to start the third to take a 6-5 lead. Conner Rohman and Quinn Rea led the way with two goals each during this stretch.

Looking to stop the bleeding, Kaiser scored his fourth goal of the game to cut the deficit to 7-6 heading to the fourth. But Hukam Gill scored for the Pioneers to make it an 8-6 game with about five minutes remaining.

Tired of letting games slip away from them, the Marauders came up clutch down the stretch. Baxter got the run started with a goal and Brian Kidder followed him with another score to tie the game. Zachary Chapman then scored on a fastbreak to give Monache a 9-8 lead with just over two minutes left.

With momentum on their side, Baxter and Kidder both scored again to put the game out of reach and finish off the comeback. While it was his goal earlier in the quarter that started the run, Baxter believes their timeout in the fourth allowed the Marauders to collect themselves and retake control.

“That timeout really helped us and we all just came together as a team and got it done,” Baxter said.

After letting the game slip away from them, the Pioneers dropped to 9-8 with a 1-3 record in the East Yosemite League. The Marauders are also 1-3 in league play, but with this comeback win in their pocket, they hope to carry that momentum into the rest of the regular season.

“This means a lot and we’re back into good graces,” Pierce said. “It will be good to ride the momentum from this win into these upcoming games.”

Monache girls take care of business on the road

After the boys wrapped up their match, Monache and Mt. Whitney girls water polo faced off. But unlike the boys match, the result was never in doubt as Monache dominated in a 12-3 victory.

The Marauders started strong as they jumped out to a 10-0 lead. The Pioneers did not even score until late in the third quarter, when the game was far out of reach. With the loss, Mt. Whitney dropped to 5-11 overall and 0-4 in the East Yosemite League.

In Monache’s victory, Kambria Weaver led the team with five goals. As a whole, the Marauders have been playing well lately with a 7-2 record in their past nine matches. Thanks to their recent success, they now have a 12-5 overall record and a 3-1 mark in the East Yosemite League. With about a month left in the season, Monache head coach Hilary Johnson hopes to see further improvement.

“We’re still learning how to utilize our offense effectively,” Johnson said. “As long as they can continue to keep up on defense and then progress in their offense, I think that we should have a pretty nice season.”

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