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Tiger teams eye big things in 2011 season

Both Tigard water polo squads could be in the hunt for a playoff bid
by: DAN BROOD BACK AT TIGARD — Gannon O’Gorman (right) is a key returnee for the Tigers’ boys team this year.

TIGARD - With each having a solid corps of talented returning players, the Tigard High School boys and girls water polo teams are looking to have plenty of success in the 2011 season.

That certainly looks to be true for the Tigard boys, who will put a veteran squad in the pool this year.

'We have a good, solid group of seniors on the team,' Tigard coach John Ruzicka said.

Among the top returnees for the Tigard boys, who went 2-10 in Pacific Conference play last year, is senior Andy Pin, who earned second-team All-Pacific Conference honors last year while splitting time at goalie and in the field.

'He is likely to be our MVP for the season,' Ruzicka said of Pin, who is leading the team I steals and goals. 'I have taken him out of the goalie position and have been using him primarily in the field.'

Gannon O'Gorman is also a key senior returnee for the Tigers.

'He is another inspirational-type player,' Ruzicka said. 'He is one of our quickest and smartest players.'

Senior Parker Lambert also returns.

'He is a great outside shooter and solid in his play,' Ruzika said.

Mike Tschaggeny will play at shallow-end goalie and will be in the field when he's not in goal. Sophomore Brad Hansen has earned a starting spot with his solid defense.

Junior Michael Joseph will be the deep-end goalie.

'Being a first-year goalie, he has done well so far,' Ruzicka said.

The Tigers also have three new seniors in Kenny Nys, who has been starting, Adam Odeh and Kevin Li.

'They are offering speed and strong defense,' Ruzicka said. 'Our boys have a chance at a playoff berth this season, depending on how we play against Tualatin.'

Ruzicka sees defending league, and state champion Newberg as the Pacific Conference favorite, with Lakeridge, Hillsboro, Tigard and Tualatin vying for the state playoff berths.

The Tigard girls also are optimistic going into the season.

The team is led by returning seniors Tess Langeth, who was a second-team all-league pick last year, and Brett Higgins.

'They have both played well so far and are our leading scorers,' Ruzicka said. 'Tess is quick and a good swimmer. Brett has a strong outside shot, but will be limited as she will also be playing our deep-end goalie position.'

Sophomores Taylor Roth and Kayla Wagenhofer should also be key players for the Tigard girls.

'They have both improved greatly and are solid all-around players,' Ruzicka said.

Freshman Liz Irving could be a strong addition.

'She is a newcomer, but has been playing water polo for years and adds a lot of experience to our girls team,' Ruzicka said.

Junior Adria Standeven, who was an all-league honorable mention pick last year, will miss the start of the season due to surgery, but the Tigers should have her back in action toward the end of their schedule.

Junior Emily Pfieffer has been starting for the Tigard girls.

'She has been using her size and speed to help us defensively,' Ruzicka said.

The Tigard girls, like the boys, are looking to grab a postseason berth.

'Our girls team is off to a good start, and with the lack of teams in the league with enough girls to play, we may make to the playoffs by default,' Ruzicka said. 'I see (defending league and state champion) Tualatin, Newberg, Tigard, Lakeridge then Forest Grove in the final standings.'

Hillsboro and Lake Oswego are not fielding varsity girls teams this year.