Water polo: Just two years after not being able to field a team, Tigard reaches the final four

CORVALLIS - It's been quite a turnaround for the Tigard High School girls water polo program.

It was just two years again that Tigard didn't have enough players to field a girls water polo team.

But, this year, Tigard not only had a team, but that team played its way into the final four at the Oregon High School Water Polo State Tournament.

The Tigers, just two years after not having a team, battled their way to fourth place at the state tourney, which concluded Saturday at the Osborn Aquatic Center.

'The girls were all super excited,' Tigard coach John Ruzicka said. 'It was just a real good season all around. It was great for the girls and the school.'

Tigard, in Friday's semifinal round of the state tournament, fell 17-5 to perennial power Newberg.

The Tigers, battling to the end, got three goals from senior Brett Higgins and one each from junior Emily Pfieffer and sophomore Kayla Wagenhofer in the fourth quarter of that contest.

In Saturday's third-place game, Tigard tried to rally against a good South Eugene team.

South Eugene held a 4-0 lead at the end of the first quarter of that game. But the Tigers got a pair of goals from senior Tess Langseth in the second quarter and then two from Higgins and one from Langseth in the third quarter, mak-ing the score 10-5 going into the final stanza.

But South Eugene was able to pull away in the fourth quarter to get the win.

'We got off to a slow start, but we fought back in the middle two quarters,' Ruzicka said.

Other members of the Tigard girls water polo team that placed fourth at state include freshman Liz Irving, sophomore Laurel Nave-Powers, sophomore Taylor Roth, junior Clara Dunklee, freshman Avery Branen, freshman Liz Irving, junior Lindsay Gill, junior Adria Standeven and senior Angela Harris.

'The girls were all dedicated and focused,' Ruzicka said. 'They worked well as a team and had a great family atmosphere.'

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