Golden West girls holds off El Diamante in overtime

Golden West’s Shayla Summers shoots the ball against El Diamante on Tuesday night. Summers led the Trail Blazers with seven goals in their 10-9 overtime win over the Miners.(Kason Clark)

Trail Blazers pull out a 10-9 overtime win over the Miners; the Blazers improve their East Yosemite League record to 2-3 for fourth in the standings

VISALIA – In a defensive battle between Golden West and El Diamante girls water polo, it took more than 28 minutes of regulation to decide a victor on Tuesday night, Oct. 10. With the game tied, 6-6, the visiting Trail Blazers and the Miners had to play an extra six minutes to see who would come out on top.

Looking to put the game away for her team, Golden West’s Shayla Summers scored a pair of goals to give her team the lead in overtime. The Blazers then held off the Miners for the 10-9 overtime victory. With his team surviving a tough fight on the road, Golden West head coach Ben Marquez was proud of his players.

“Our girls really showed a lot of fight out there,” Marquez said. “We definitely keep learning every game and I think this team has a lot of potential to keep going and really show the league that they’re here to fight.”

With the overtime victory, the Blazers now have a 10-9 overall record this season. The Blazers also improved to 2-3 in the East Yosemite League, good for fourth in the standings. But it was not easy claiming that fourth-place spot.

The Miners started the night strong as they took a 2-0 lead in the first quarter. Summers scored on a five-meter shot to get the Blazers on the scoreboard, but Kalindi Carnigan scored to give the Miners a 3-1 lead to end the first.

Looking to get her team back in the game, Summers made a pair of five-meter shots to tie the game. After Carnigan threw a lob into the goal for the Miners, Summers once again knocked down a five-meter shot to make it a 4-4 game heading into halftime.

The third quarter continued to be a defensive struggle as El Diamante’s Alyssa Navarro scored the only goal of the frame. While the Blazers were struggling to score, Summers and her teammates knew they had to push through if they wanted to stay in the game.

“We just reset our minds and our game and we just have to push through,” Summers said. “We actually say ‘reset’ and we drill that through and then we just push through it.”

That mentality paid off when Summers scored on a fastbreak to tie the game, 5-5, early in the fourth. Ellie Lambert followed that up with a goal of her own to give the Blazers their first lead of the night. The Blazers then played strong defense through most of the fourth quarter.

But with less than a minute remaining, Lauren Pelayo scored to tie the game. Both teams then failed to score as the game went to overtime. As the teams prepared for overtime, Marquez wanted to keep his team calm and ready for the next six minutes of action.

“Overtime is a whole new game so I told them to reset because it doesn’t matter if we were up or down,” Marquez said. “We’re always just going to keep fighting and play every play and every possession as its own game.”

The Blazers and Miners exchanged goals to start the first overtime period. Summers then gave Golden West the lead with another five-meter shot. She then scored again to make it, 9-7, to end the first overtime period. With that goal, she recorded her seventh of the game and broke a school record with 91 total goals in one season.

Reagan Cooper scored for El Diamante to start the second overtime period, but Lambert responded with a goal of her own to make it a 10-8 game. With time running out, Cooper scored again to cut it to one goal. But with four seconds left, the Blazers milked the clock to secure the win.

With their overtime loss, the Miners fell to 9-14 on the year and 1-4 in the East Yosemite League. With just a few weeks left in the regular season, both the Blazers and Miners will be looking to end the year strong. With this win, the Blazers hope it can give them something to learn from as they prepare for upcoming league matches.

“We’re just going to go back, look at the tape for this and know what we need to improve on,” Marquez said.

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