The Wilcox water polo team put forth a clinic in their home pool Tuesday afternoon. Led by six goals from senior Allie Frederick, the Chargers were in control from the first quarter onward in an eventual 12-3 win.
“I think we played pretty well in this one, we worked really well as a team,” said Frederick. “We passed the ball around and got into the hands of the open player for quality shots towards the cage.”
Frederick and teammates Lucy Clarke, Nora Burkhardt and Noa Wieder all scored from well beyond two meters, which was key because Cupertino was frequently double teaming Lydia Yi at hole set. Yi scored twice, but with the extra attention, it was actually her passing game that was most impressive. In the third quarter, Yi managed to pass the ball back to Wieder while under heavy pressure when the double team came at her late. Wieder was then able to score to make it 6-1.
“We kind of expected that because past teams have done the same with Lydia because of how good of a player she is,” noted Frederick. “We adjusted well and got our outside shots to the back of the cage.”
“It was actually something we saw last game and it took us almost all game to figure it out,” chuckled Wilcox Head Coach Rich Cruzen. “So this time around we had a better plan for it and the girls did a great job of attacking space and taking advantage.”
Cruzen’s squad has now improved to 4-1 on the season and in the coach’s eyes on Tuesday, only allowing three goals defensively was more impressive than the 12 at the offensive end.
“Holding them to three, to be honest,” replied the coach when asked which part of the scoreboard pleased him the most. “Our defense was something we have focused on and the communication was a lot better today. It was probably one of our best, well-rounded games, going to the right spots and making the right decisions.”
Both Frederick and Clarke were standouts defensively. The former scored one of her goals by pickpocketing the Cupertino keeper and then scoring into a wide-open net. The latter was denying quality opportunities with her quickness and positional play throughout the match.
“Lucy is definitely our best defensive player,” praised Cruzen without any hesitation. “Best defensive player by far. She can be everywhere, she can cover all the positions defensively, she is a really strong two-meter defender which is probably one of the most important spots in the pool. She just knows the game really well, anticipates and has really good body movement. It really helps having her in the pool.”
When it comes to defense, it’s also nice having multiple goalies who can play at a high level. Both starter Kirsty Milne and backup Jennell Laughlin had impressive saves in this one, helping hold the Pioneers to their three goals.
Wilcox will hop back in the pool next when they play at Saratoga on Thursday, Sept. 23.