The Fremont Firebirds water polo squad finished off a season sweep of the Wilcox Chargers on Tuesday by cruising to a 6-1 win. On an evening where they celebrated senior night, senior leaders Cara Mason and Ruby Solomon led the way. Mason finished with a hat trick, while Solomon added a pair, which was more than enough scoring for goalkeeper Britt Vanlerberghe who seemed nearly unbeatable in the cage. The lone Wilcox goal scorer to get one past Vanlerberghe was junior Lydia Yi, who scored in the first quarter from in tight at her hole set position. From that point forward though, Vanlerberghe and the Firebirds defense limited the Chargers to few quality chances.
“Really happy with our girls,” said Fremont Head Coach Catherine Capriles. “They have been playing really really well, especially towards the end of the season they have really gotten a good vibe going and working really well together.”
“In the beginning, we had a little bit of trouble setting up on offense, but we finally got it together in the second quarter,” remarked Mason on her squad’s performance. “And we were able to tear it up after that.”
“Teamwork and communication has been something we have been working on all season and I think that communication was key tonight,” added Solomon. “Whenever we had issues we would come together, talk about it, figure it out and execute.”
Fremont would execute one more offensive strike late in the game when Rashmi Gaitonde added a goal to make it 6-1. The Firebirds were in control most of the second half, but it was just 3-1 after two quarters, Wilcox was right there in the game, which wasn’t surprising considering Fremont beat Wilcox by a score of just 5-1 earlier in the season.
“Our girls felt a little tired today, they even mentioned that beforehand,” admitted Chargers Head Coach Rich Cruzen. “And I’m like ‘well, you gotta overcome that in games like this.’ It’s something where you have to fight through it and play at a higher level.”
A game like this is almost a blessing coming into the league playoffs,” continued Cruzen. “It really identifies things we need to work on, where other teams where you win by a large margin, they don’t allow you to focus on what you need to fix. These games are important when you do have a loss like this, because it really shows you things that aren’t working.”
One of the Chargers players who was certainly working well in this game was goaltender Kirsty Milne. Early in the third quarter Milne made a tremendous point blank save off a Firebirds driver who was all alone in front of the cage. That stop kept the score 3-1 early in the second half, a 4-1 goal there would have likely been a back-breaking score.
Both Wilcox and Fremont have one game left remaining on Thursday, Oct. 21 before the playoffs start. These two teams could very well meet up again for the league championship.