by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beavertons Emma Egan took over in the third quarter of the Beavers 14-9 win over Southridge, scoring and passing the ball well.

Free from the harshness of a savage preseason that hampered their team’s progression, the Beaverton girls’ water polo team took out their frustration on their favorite Metro foe and acquired a desired win in the process.

Behind the stout goalie play of senior Malena Udani, the playmaking of Emma Egan and the speed of Kaitlyn Wright, the Beavers turned a slim 4-3 second quarter lead into a conclusive 14-9 win over archrival Southridge on Sept. 26.

“Any time we can beat Southridge it’s pretty nice,” said Udani. “They’re our rivals, so they’re the one team we want to make sure we beat. We practice really hard, so it’s good to have an accomplishment out of that.”

Egan carried the Beavers for most of the third quarter, scoring two goals and dishing out two assists to help her squad grab a commanding 14-6 lead. Egan hit Wright, who spun around in the water and let off a shot in the middle of the Skyhawk defense for a score that made it 12-5. Then, after Southridge’s Sidney Schickedanz scored to make it 12-6, the Beaver sophomore floated a long pass to a streaking Newton, who ran down the rock, twirled 180 degrees in the air and whipped the ball into the cage with 1:17 remaining. Newton said Beaverton’s strong defense was a huge aid in starting their seven-goal, offensive charge in the third.

“We knew we had some faster swimmers than them, and we were really depending on the counter attacks,” said Newton. “We needed our good defense to help us on the counters and to get goals.”

Newton also said Beaverton was a little overconfident in the first quarter, being that the Beavers took Southridge to the woodshed last year. But, with the loss of a number of key seniors off last year’s team, Beaverton had to regroup and get their heads together in time to pull away from the Skyhawks.

Egan said the third quarter was the first time Beaverton had obtained a lead after a brutal preseason, and that allowed Beaverton to execute some of the drills they’d been learning in practice.

“This was a good chance to learn how to get in the correct positions and actually do stuff before getting discouraged,” said Egan. “Our preseason games were tough for us, just losing by a lot of points. So, it was good for our team to come in strong after the first quarter.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beavertons Kaitlyn Wright looks for an open teammate against Southridges Ally Hanson-Holtry during the Beavers win on Thursday.

Triggering the offense

Udani was the head honcho in goal, stopping seven shots even with a dislocated knee while coordinating Beaverton’s defense and triggering the offense from the back of the pool. The senior said since she’s in the goal, she’s able to get a full view of the water and ensure the Beavers keep proper spacing on the offensive end.

“I make sure people know where they are and if they’re on top of each other,” said Udani. “I’m the eye, so everyone knows what they’re doing. I can be vocal and help them out. Our defense is good at getting back when we need to get back and guarding the players who are the biggest threats. Today, I just felt like it was a normal day in goal.”

Before the game, Schickedanz said her goals for the Skyhawks weren’t exceedingly high. But, after battling the Beavers for 24 minutes, she sees Southridge progressing and hopefully doing better than TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridges Sidney Schickedanz rises and fires a ball near the Beaverton goal during the Skyhawks loss on Thursday.

“We were able to communicate a lot more, and we scored a lot more goals than we normally do, so I feel really good about our game,” said Schickedanz. “Breakaways helped us, but we also passed really well today. Normally we don’t pass to one another, so I think that worked really well.”

Schickedanz said Southridge has shifted from playing individually earlier in the season to playing as a team against Beaverton. The teamwork and crisp passing was key in the second quarter when Schickedanz and Isabelle Sichel each scored to cut Beaverton’s lead to 4-3 with 4:02 to go.

“We’ve been working really hard in practice and it showed today,” said Hanson-Holtry. “We focused on driving in, and staying motivated the whole game. We worked on being spread out and not being so clumped in the middle.”

Hanson-Holtry and Beaverton’s Egan reciprocated goals in the second quarter before Beaverton freshman Karley Hecht scored off a pass from Egan to give the Beavers a 9-4 halftime lead. The Skyhawks, much like their Metro archrival, are refining their offensive motion and verbalizing on the attack to put more goals in the cage. Southridge’s Solwhi Yu was able to put home a couple of offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter when the Skyhawks scored three goals in a 1:50 time span to trim the deficit to 14-9.

“We’re trying to be louder and more confident,” said Hanson-Holtry. “If you know someone’s in the wrong spot, you just tell them to move, and they move. We’ve definitely had a lot of building years. So, I think we have a lot of potential this year to go to Metro, and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

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