Once Tulare High got on the board, it had its springboard toward the school's first Central Section girls water polo title.
The second-seeded Redskins rallied from an early three-goal deficit to defeat No. 1 Mt. Whitney 10-7 on Wednesday for the Division III title. It's the first polo championship for a team from the city of Tulare -- girls or boys.
"When we started out, we were nervous and playing undisciplined," said Tim Elick, who won his first title in 20 years of coaching that includes stints with the Golden West boys and Tulare Western girls. "We were rushing everything and trying to force stuff. Once we got our first goal, we were able to settle down and do what we do best, counter and find the open spots."
Tara Bustamonte and Jenna Sartuche scored three goals each to pace the Redskins (18-7). Kelsie Pitigliano had nine saves.
Madison Bustos' two goals led Mt. Whitney, which will return its entire roster next season.
Clovis West 9, Buchanan 4: Lauren Martin scored four goals to power the top-seeded and two-time defending champion Golden Eagles into Saturday's championship rematch against Clovis.
Clovis West, which hasn't lost to a team from the section this season, also got two goals from Mackenzie Schuler.
Emily Marr and Bret Mortimer scored two goals each for No. 4 Buchanan. DIVISION II
Golden West 10, Yosemite 7: Lindsey Jennings scored four goals as the third-seeded Trailblazers reached the final by edging the second-seeded Badgers.
Golden West faces No. 1 Memorial for the title.
Leslie Lauterbach had three goals for Yosemite.
Clovis West 18, El Diamante 14: Jared Osborn scored four goals and four teammates scored three each as the second-seeded Golden Eagles held off the No. 3 Miners to advance to the final against Clovis.
Craig Ritchie's five goals led El Diamante.
Clovis North 9, Hanford West 6: Shae Russell's six goals powered the top-seeded Broncos past the No. 4 Huskies.
Cody Cartozian had 10 saves for Clovis North, which faces third-seeded and defending champ Hanford in the final.
Tor Gudmundsson led Hanford West's balanced scoring with two goals.
Dinuba 8, Mt. Whitney 3: Ross Cochran and Justin Classen each scored three goals as the No. 3 Emperors topped the No. 2 Pioneers.
Dinuba will travel to Bakersfield to face top-seeded Garces, a 19-2 winner over No. 5 Tulare Western, in the final.