Speed in the pool is a dangerous weapon in water polo, especially when a team knows how to use it like the Clovis High girls.
Scoring four times off the counterattack, the top-seeded Cougars rallied from an early three-goal deficit to capture their second straight Central Section Division I title with a 13-10 victory over No. 2 Clovis West on Saturday at the Jim Coiner Aquatics Complex.
"Our counterattack and our anticipation was a big factor in our coming back," said Clovis' Hannah Harvey, who had five goals, including one on a counter. "We have good speed on this team. And we definitely take advantage of that."
Clovis coach Noah Minton said it takes more than speed to be successful on the counter.
"Clovis West is fast, too," he said. "Often, it's not who's fastest, but who anticipates. And our goalie [Hannah Mills] did a fantastic job making great passes on the counter."
After Clovis West (21-11) had crawled back into the lead at 7-6 midway through the third quarter, Clovis' Ashlee Coleman got free on a counter to tie the score with 2:22 remaining. Coleman then gave the Cougars (22-8) the lead for good 39 seconds later when she scored off a Harvey assist.
"We got opportunities where we know how to score," said Coleman, who finished with four goals. "And we don't generally miss them."
McKenna Hauss scored with 1:20 left in the third quarter to put Clovis ahead by two goals, and the Golden Eagles never got any closer than that.
But it was all Clovis West early on as it built a 3-0 first-quarter lead on a goal from McKenna Fife and two from Mary Brooks. The Golden Eagles also led 7-5 in the third quarter on a Ali Or- lich goal before Clovis – which has been the team to beat in the section all season – took over down the stretch.
"This game gave us a reason to remember what it's like to chase someone," Coleman said. "It woke us up."
Brooks scored a game-high six goals to lead Clovis West, the section's winningest girls water polo program with 10 titles.
"We played well defensively, offensively and in 6-on-5s," Golden Eagles coach Scott Torosian said. "It's giving up those counter goals that really hurt us."
D-II: Broncos girls win
Shay Coffman scored two of her three goals in the second half to help top-seeded Clovis North overcome defending champ and sixth-seeded Golden West 12-8 for the school's first section title.
"The girls didn't stray from the game plan," said Broncos coach Micha Pavlovic, whose team finished 17-17. "For their first time playing in the finals, they stayed composed."
Rebecca Simmons' three goals led Golden West.