Timberwolves aren't taking anything for granted
Water polo: The Tualatin girls battle their way to an 18-6 victory over the rival Tigers
TUALATIN - They're the defending state champions.
They have a strong group of returning players from last year's title-winning team and have added some promising newcomers to the roster.
But, make no mistake about it, the Timberwolves aren't taking anything for granted.
The Tualatin High School girls water polo team says it's not about to rest on its laurels. The Wolves showed that last week, when they powered their way to an 18-6 win over rival Tigard in a Pacific Conference game played Sept. 21 at the Tualatin Swim Center.
'It's always nice to beat Tigard,' Tualatin senior Bryn Hudson said after the contest. 'But we know we have a lot to work on. There's stuff we need to improve on. We need to have better passing, but we played pretty well today.'
'We know we still have to work for it,' Tualatin junior Matea Mundstock added. 'We've got some new freshmen this year. We've got some strong players, but we need to work to build on our skills.'
With the win, Tualatin improved to 3-0 in league games. Tigard moved to 1-1 in league play with the setback.
The Timberwolves got off to a sprinting start in last week's game with the Tigers. Hudson scored a pair of goals in the first 39 seconds of the match to give the Wolves a quick 2-0 advantage.
Mundstock then converted on back-to-back penalty shots to up the lead to 4-0 with 4:43 left in the first quarter.
Tualatin junior Sarah Visse scored off a long pass from sophomore goalkeeper Kate McDonnell to push the lead to 5-0.
Tigard got on the scoreboard with a goal by Brett Higgins with 1:50 left in the first quarter. The Tigers also got a goal from Tess Langseth off a pass from Liz Irving with 21.4 seconds left in the period to trim the Tualatin lead to 5-2 going into the second quarter.
Hudson tallied a goal off an assist from Mundstock to start the second quarter. Tigard answered with a goal by Irving off a pass from Emily Pfieffer to keep the Tigers within three, at 6-3, with 5:44 remaining in the second quarter.
But Tualatin turned up the defensive pressure, shutting out the Tigers in the rest of the first half. Meanwhile, the Wolves got a driving goal by senior Katie Newgard, off a pass from Mundstock, and a goal by Hudson on a lob shot in the final minute of the period to give the Wolves an 8-3 advantage at halftime.
Tualatin got goals from Visse, Mundstock and Hudson in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Tigard answered with goals by Pfieffer and Higgins to keep the Tigers within six, at 11-5, with 3:36 left in the third quarter.
Tualatin sophomore Hannah Price and Higgins then traded goals. Visse scored the final goal of the quarter, coming with 35.1 seconds left in the period, to give the Wolves a 13-6 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Wolves then put the game away in the final stanza, with their defense shutting out Tigard in the quarter.
Meanwhile, Tualatin got two goals from Mundstock and one each by junior Abbie Howard, senior Taryn O'Neill and Hudson in the period to wrap up its 18-6 victory.
'It was a good win,' Hudson said. 'We've got a lot of depth this year. We've got three or four really good players coming off the bench. It's nice to have them.'
'And we've got two left-handers,' Mundstock said, referring to Hudson and freshman Madison Berggren.'
'We're working hard,' Hudson said. 'We've got a title to uphold.'
Hudson led the Wolves in last week's win over the Tigers with six goals. Mundstock added four goals and Visse scored three times.
For Tigard, Higgins led the way with three goals. Langseth, Irving and Pfieffer added one goal apiece.
The Tigers posted an 18-9 win over West Salem in a non-league match held Tuesday at the Tigard Swim Center.
The Wolves were scheduled to play at Forest Grove and Tigard was to travel to Newberg on Wednesday. Results of those games weren't available when the Times went to press.
Both the Tigard and Tualatin girls found success in tournament play over the weekend.
The Tigard girls, on Friday and Saturday, earned third place at the Parkrose Tournament.
The Tualatin girls captured the championship at the Tualatin Hills Tournament, also held Friday and Saturday.