Girls Water Polo advances to CIF Finals

See the short photo video here.

Hemet advances to the final by winning 12-4 over the Citrus Valley Hawks at the West Valley Pool.  CIF Finals will be against Huntington Beach Ocean View.  Game time is believed to be at 9 a.m., Saturday, February 23.

Congratulation Girls, We Are PROUD of YOU!!!

Go Bulldogs.

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HEMET 12 CITRUS VALLEY 4
Bulldogs cruise by Blackhawks and into final
Hemet will play for its first girls water polo title
BY MATT JOCKS

   CORRESPONDENT sports@pe.com 
   HEMET — There are many ways to calm an inexperienced water polo team’s nerves. None of them beat a big early lead.

   Hemet High’s Bulldogs have been proving that all postseason. On Wednesday at West Valley High, they jumped on Redlands Citrus Valley with four unanswered first-period goals on the way to a 12-4 rout in a Division 7 semifinal.

   The Bulldogs (20-9) will play for their first title Saturday at Woollett Pool in Irvine against Huntington Beach Ocean View.

   “I didn’t think we’d be here,” Hemet coach Travis Henderson said. “Most of our girls didn’t play until they were sophomores. Only two swam (competitively) before high school.”

   Hemet has been overpowering in the playoffs, outscoring its three opponents 41-14. Against Citrus Valley 
(17-8), the Bulldogs dominated the first quarter, scoring on three of their first four shots and riding a big effort from goalie Tabitha DelCarmen, who had five firstquarter saves.

   “Our girls played great defense today,” DelCarmen said. “They forced them (Citrus Valley) to shoot from worse angles, which gave me more of a chance to make the saves.

   “The first quarter is very important. Once your morale gets down, it usually 
stays down.”

   Hemet upped its lead to 5-0 in the opening minute of the second quarter and eventually went up 7-0 before Hannah Tamimi put home a penalty shot with 2:45 left in the third quarter.

   As usual, Hemet’s offense ran through Shelbi Skinner, who finished with five goals. Emily Crane scored three times, including the Bulldogs’ first goal, on which she battled for a loose ball and flipped it past Citrus Valley goalie Holly Hudson.

   “She (Skinner) had a great game,” Henderson said. “She draws so many defenders, she opens up plays for other girls. She’s also able to draw a lot of penalties.”

   Skinner has won three CIF volleyball titles at Hemet, but said this trip to the 
finals felt different.

   “Water polo is so much ‘Go-go-go,’ ” she said. “There’s a different kind of intensity.”

   Citrus Valley awoke in the third quarter with backto-back goals from Tamimi, and the Blackhawks had a couple of good looks to get closer. However, DelCarmen made a big save, Skinner scored from close range with three seconds left in the third and McKenna Glasser put home a rebound in the opening minute of the fourth to open a 9-2 lead.

   “It’s hard to see them score goal after goal, but I think it was more the goals we were missing,” Citrus Valley coach Dani Hall said. “You start wondering … we’re missing plays we usually make. I don’t think it was necessarily nerves, but there was pressure.”

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