APTOS — The Aptos Mariners girl’s water polo team won their opening match by the score of 7-3 against the Hollister Haybalers behind a strong game from their defense and from Trinity Sieraski.
Sieraski finished with four goals on the day, three of them coming in the first half, and goalie McKenzie Phelps finished with seven saves, five of them coming in the first half.
“We played very good defense,” said head coach Tim Outtrim. “We were aggressive enough, and we put enough pressure on San Benito to deny the opportunities to give them good shots. Our goalie was fantastic, she did a great job of stopping some key shots.
“Trinity did a good job to put us out front, and then we were able to cruise and let some other players get in and experiment a little.”
It’s a good start for a Mariners team that Outtrim said is in “rebuilding” mode after losing six starters from a team that lost in the Monterey Bay League Gabilan championship game against the Soquel Knights in a close 5-4 nail bitter last season.
The Mariners went on to lose to the San Lorenzo Valley Cougars in the first round of the Central Coast Section Division II in a heartbreaking 10-9 loss.
“We have a good core group in place,” Outtrim said. “We have four returners from last year, and the rest are brought up from JV.”
Outtrim will have to lean on his four returners especially Sieraski, who he said is going to be the Mariners’ “workhorse.”
Molly Decsatongrene and Lauren Bodenman are two players that Outtrim said he hopes can step up after making the jump from the JV level.
One player that Outtrim is especially high on is freshman Keegan Lee, who moved from Southern California to the Aptos area and has grown up playing water polo.
“It’s the first time that a freshman has been on varsity in many year’s,” Outtrim said. “She has a lot of experience in the sport, so I think she’s ready for the challenge.”
The Mariners know that they’ll have a tough road in league play against the likes of Soquel, Santa Cruz and SLV, but first came the Haybalers.
Aptos was able to get out to an early lead when Maddie Montana scored the first goal of the game at the 3 minute, 34 second mark of the first quarter.
Sieraski then followed up her teammate’s goal with two of her own, the second coming with just 25 seconds left in the first quarter.
Sieraski launched in another score in the beginning of the second quarter, to give her the hat-trick and her team the 4-0 lead.
The Mariners were able to score one more goal before the Haybalers finally got on the board in the third quarter.
They girls in blue were able to cruise the rest of the way for the season-opening win.
They will host Carmel on Thursday at 4 p.m.
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