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The Sunset girls are now in second place in the 2012 race

CEDAR MILL — Slowly, surely, day by day and game by game, the Sunset girls water polo team just keeps getting better.

The Apollos took another step on that journey on Oct. 18 when they powered past Westview 9-5 at Sunset Swim Center. That win, along with a 10-2 victory over Southridge in Tuesday, lifted Sunset’s West Metro League record to 4-2 and gave them sole possession of second place.

WEST METRO BATTLE - Sunset's Kaye Shapiro (right) tries to keep the ball away from Westview's Kiera Lindsey during the Apollos' 9-5 win on Oct. 18 at Sunset Swim Center.

“We’ve been playing pretty good,” said Sunset senior Cassandra Dieterich, who led her team with four goals against Westview. “We still need to work on movement, but we’re getting better and improving in every game we play.”

“We have all the basics,” added Sunset junior goalie Abby Griffiths. “We just need to go back over all of them and set up a couple plays and then we definitely have the talent to do” well in the playoffs.

Westview, meanwhile, dropped a 9-3 decision to Beaverton on Tuesday, and fell to 1-5 in WML play. Still, after very nearly failing to field a team this year, the Wildcats were just happy to be in the pool and competing.

“It was a rough start,” admitted Westview junior Madi McGlone, who led her team with three goals. “This is definitely a growing year, but it’s really great we were able to pull together a team.”

Sunset started fast in its game against Westview, getting an early goal from Brooke Weir just 46 seconds into the contest, then adding scores by Dieterich on a counterattack and by Elise Cutts to grab a 3-0 lead.

Westview turned the tables in the second quarter, though, with McGlone scoring on a lob just 22 seconds into the period, and teammate Kiera Lindsey connecting off a pass from Kendra Cheren to make it 3-2 with 4 minutes, 28 seconds left in the half.

But the Apollos closed the half with a late Cutts score, then iced the game with a 4-1 edge in the third quarter. There, Dieterich kicked things off with a counterattack goal, and Weir took a pass from Soraya Go and scored 36 seconds later to make it 6-2.

The Wildcats tried to stem the tide when Gabby Medina scored on a break, but Sunset closed the period with two more scores, a long shot from Cutts with 2:02 to go and a breakaway by Dieterich with 1:35 left in the third for an 8-3 lead.

The Apollos’ lead crested at 9-3 when Dieterich took a Weir pass and lobbed a shot over Jennie Moshinsky two minutes into the fourth, and McGlone’s two late goals just weren’t enough.

Defense was the key to Sunset’s victory.

“Usually, we just try to make sure we have a good defense for a team like Westview,” Dieterich.

“It was just getting our defense working from the cage out, and then doing good on offense, getting open and getting movement,” Griffiths added.

Westview left determined to keep improving as long as it still has a chance to play.

“If we lose focus, that’s when we’re weak,” McGlone said. “One of our things is to focus hard and play harder, but if we forget to do that, if we forget to get back on defense, lose focus on what we really need to be thinking about, we definitely fall behind a little.”

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.

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