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Girls Water Polo team continues to improve

Ashley Ragain looks for an opportunity to move the ball toward the goal. Photo by Eden Marshall

Around mid-season, the girls varsity water polo team was swimming in a mixed phenomenon of wins and losses. At press time, the Hounds were sitting at a total of 7 wins and 9 losses.

During the Arroyo Grande Fall Classic tournament from Sept. 21-22, Atascadero lost to Clovis North with a score of 14-2 in the first round matchup played at Morro Bay. Clovis North came to the tournament already ranked fifth in the first division of the Central Section coaches poll. In Atascadero’s second game, against El Diamanté High School, Jasmyn Kaczmarek scored the go-ahead goal with only 3:32 left in the game. The Greyhounds battled through to then finish with a winning score of 7-6.

On the second day of the tournament in the third place pool, Atascadero started with a loss of 10-6 to Sierra Pacific from Hanford. Kaczmarek kept her scoring streak alive with two goals and was the only Greyhound who had scored in every game on Friday, totaling 10 goals in five games. The second game on Saturday was a huge success, with a winning score of 16-0 against Sierra High School from Tollhouse. Mina Nogi lead the team with a seven goals that game. The other three goals were made by Kaczmarek. Nogi also scored 10 goals during the five games on Saturday. The final game against Arroyo Grande’s junior varsity team was a battle for the Hounds, resulting in a 5-3 loss. With the loss, Atascadero finished in 16th out of 25 teams in their most recent tournament.

Cristina Mansir is ready to pass before her opponent gets any closer. Photo by Eden Marshall

On Sept. 18, the Greyhounds lost to Righetti 13-3. The three goals for the Greyhounds were made by Cristina Mansir, Keara Kaczmarek, and Ashley Ragain. On Sept. 11, Atascadero beat San Luis Obispo High School at home with a final score of 15-4 with clean passes and anticipation. The top scorers for the game were Jasmyn Kaczmarek (4), Nogi (3), Ragain (3), and Mary Dempsey (2). Maddie Howell, Keara Kaczmarek, and Makayla Power each scored one goal.

At the beginning of the season, varsity coach Rob Rucker said, “The biggest challenge for this young team is themselves. Once they realize they are as good as I know they are, they will be fine as a team.” Over the course of the season, the girls’ confidence in the pool continued to improve, resulting in a fast paced game at Santa Maria on Sept. 6 with the winning score of 8-2. Nogi scored four goals, Evelyn Rinkenberger scored two, and Ragain and Meghan Calmere each scored one.

Towards the beginning of the season, the Hounds lost to Arroyo Grande 16-1 on Sept. 4. The lone goal was made by Rinkenberger. Earlier in the season, Rinkenberger stated, “I think that the best part of my games this season so far has been my intensity and quick reaction time.” She believes this is a skill that continues to improve and will carry her far in her water polo career.

In the Central Valley Showdown at Clovis West on Aug. 31- Sept. 1, Atascadero lost to Bullard 10-9 in overtime during the championship game, leaving them in second place. However, the Greyhounds did win previous games that carried them to the championships: Hoover 17-2, Hanford 6-4, and Edison 11-6. The overall scorers for this tournament were: Rinkenberger with the most goals (9), Jasmyn Kaczmarek (8), Nogi (7), Power (5), Kendall Garvey (4), Mansir (4), Ragain (2), Calmere, Zandra Flores, Maddie Howell, and Dempsey each scoring a single goal.

On Aug. 29, the Greyhounds lost to Nipomo with a final score of 10-6. The top scorers were Rinkenberger with two powerful shots to the cage, Nogi, Flores, Calmere, and Power each with one.

Atascadero lost their first game to Paso Robles on Aug. 21, with a score of 16-1. Mansir scored the lone goal in the third quarter. Water polo fans can come support AHS varsity girls water polo at home against Righetti on Oct. 18 at 4:00 pm.

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