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Defending champs aiming high again

Water polo: Tualatin girls have strong group of returnees from last year's title team
by: DAN BROOD MVP — Tualatin senior Bryn Hudson was the state tournament Most Valuable Player last year.

TUALATIN - Last year, the Tualatin High School girls water polo team soared all the way to the state championship.

This year, the Timberwolves are looking to soar high again.

But they're also making sure not to look too far ahead.

Tualatin aims to stay focused while carrying some high hopes.

'We've got the target on our back this year, but we expect to do as well as we did last year,' Tualatin coach Ryan Deahn said. 'We're mainly keeping our focus on getting to the finals game, but we don't take anything for granted. We're going to be sure to take it one game at a time.'

The Tualatin girls have a strong group of returning players from last year's squad that scored a 6-5 win over Newberg in the 2010 state championship game.

Among the returnees for the Wolves is senior Bryn Hudson. Last year, Hudson was named both the Pacific Conference Player of the Year as well as the Most Valuable Player at the state tournament.

Also back for Tualatin is junior Matea Mundstock, who was a second-team all-league pick and first-team all-state tournament selection last year.

The Wolves have other key returnees back in the field this year, including senior Katie Newguard, junior Sarah Visse, senior Taryn O'Neill, junior Abbie Howard and sophomore Hannah Price.

'I think all of our girls could start anywhere in the state,' Deahn said.

Sophomore Kate McDonnell is back at goalie for the Wolves. Last year, she was an honorable mention all-league pick and a second-team all-state tournament selection.

'She's better than last year,' Deahn said.

Tualatin also has added some talented freshmen in Madison Berggrens and Marissa Lobo.

'I think we're a year older and more mature,' Deahn said. 'We've got some high expectations.'

Deahn sees Newberg as being the Wolves' top competition in the Pacific Conference this season.

'Newberg is always competitive,' he said.

Tualatin has already played Newberg twice this season. The Wolves triumphed in a league game last Wednesday in a league game played at the Tualatin Swim Center. Then, on Saturday, Tualatin scored an 8-5 win over the Tigers during a tournament in Newberg.

The Tualatin girls also have a victory over Lakeridge this season, giving them a 2-0 record in Pacific Conference play.

The Tualatin boys water polo team, unlike the girls, have just a few returnees back from last year's squad that fell 19-5 to Newberg in the state championship game.

'It's a rebuilding year,' Deahn said. 'We graduated six from last year's team, so we're going to have a young team this year. They're going to be forced to grow up quicker.'

Among the top returnees for the Tualatin boys are seniors Evan Kaeding and Wilson Giles.

Junior Clay McKean and senior Forest Lofgren will also be counted on this year.

'We're gong to call on them to step up,' Deahn said.

Sophomore Jacob Baldry will be at goalie for the Tualatin boys.

'We're also going to have five freshmen,' Deahn said. 'The learning curve isn't going to be as small as it's been in the past, but we'll be looking for them to step up to the challenge.'

The Tualatin boys, falling to Newberg and Lakeridge, are 0-2 to start the league season.