The Yucaipa High School water polo team took a firm grip on first place in the Citrus Belt League by limiting Citrus Valley High School to one goal in the second half, good for a convincing 10-5 victory. Senior Dori Philips got the Thunderbirds off to a 5-1 lead by scoring three goals and assisting Lauren Nelson on another. Philips finished with five goals. YHS is now 5-0 in CBL and 11-10 overall. Citrus Valley is 4-1 in CBL.
Yucaipa had steamrolled past all other CBL opponents; however coach Ty Hudson said that Citrus Valley gave his team “by far” its best challenge in league. Most of the match was played in constant rain at the Crafton Hills Aquatics Center last Thursday. “Everyone is playing up to expectations and we are playing very well,” said Hudson.
Citrus Valley would not go down easy, getting within 5-4 after two goals from Ashley Williams and one from Maddie Hernandez. Philips goal gave Yucaipa a 6-4 lead with 1:04 left in the half. Philips scored her fifth goal to make it 7-3 midway through the third quarter.
“We get our goals in transition so we gotta get defensive stops to make our offense work,” explained Hudson. “Today, our experience played a role. The longer a game goes on, the stronger we get. We're in top shape because of our training.”
Zoie Hollinger scored late in the third quarter to increase the lead to 8-4 and Maddie Vrolyks scored the last two of her three goals in the final minute to clinch the victory. Ashley Williams led CItrus with three goals. CVHS goalie Kenzie Gonzales had 12 saves. YHS goalie Daisy Castaneda totaled nine saves.
The T-Birds overall record is misleading since six of the losses came in tournaments featuring some of the region's stronger programs. It lost 8-7 to M.L. King in the Inland Empire Showcase. Then lost by two points at the Diamond Bar Tournament to Sunny Hills and Troy.