Girls water polo one and out at state

After a fine run through the Valley League, the Sweet Home girls water polo team hit a brick wall at the state playoffs Saturday, losing 26-0 to Beaverton.

It wasn’t as though Sweet Home wasn’t in the game, the Huskies just couldn’t get on the scoreboard against a team full of players who play year-round and a goalie who stopped all 18 shots Sweet Home took, according to coach Kathy Benzo.

“She was just an amazing goalie,” Benzo said. “That girl could cover the whole goal. She was not big, but she was agile. No matter what you shot, she stopped it. We didn’t get to save as many on our side.”

For the young Huskies, none of whom had ever played at the state level before, it was an eye-opener, Benzo said.

“It was a hard-core game,” she said. “They had 16 girls on their squad and only three on their squad who were non-swimmers. It was one of the better offensive games I’ve seen our girls play. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t score, but the attempts were there. Beaverton was an excellent team.”

Beaverton had seven ejection fouls in first half.

“Like I told the girls, it’s a whole different level of play at state,” she said. “That’s fine, though. This is a young team. They know what to expect for next year.

“You try to prepare them, but they’re humans. They don’t know what to expect until they get there. They have nothing to be disappointed about.”

The Huskies finish the season with a 10-3 record and as the first Sweet Home team to go to state since 1989, Benzo said. They will lose only two seniors, Alyshia Benzo and Nichole Martin.

“Everybody’s pretty excited about next year,” she said.

Benzo said open water polo will be held on Saturdays at the swimming pool to give anyone who wants to play a chance to practice.

“It gives them more experience,” she said.

Seniors Benzo and Martin were named to the all-district first team on the girls side, while freshman Jayce Calhoon was named a first-teamer for the boys. Honorable mention honors went to Justine Calhoon and Laura Gourley for the girls and to Joel Gunselman and Shawn Adams for the boys.