Boys, girls teams looking for big years

by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Madras water polo player Garrett Webb (with ball) tries to work past the Summit defense during Thursday's match against the Storm. Madras lost, 11-7.Madras High School head water polo coach Bobby DeRoest is expecting big things from his squads this season.

Following matches against Summit on Thursday, DeRoest was pleased with the effort of both boys and girls teams, even through both teams fell to the Storm.

The boys lost 11-7, and the girls lost 14-10.

On the boys side, DeRoest said his team doesn’t have any big glaring weaknesses. They are a solid team at every position, he said, and they will hang with any team around.

“That’s pretty unusual for a team,” DeRoest said of the team’s talent balance. “We don’t have a player that’s head and shoulders above anyone else, but all seven in the water can play.”

The speed of the team, which is composed of a lot of the same athletes that won the Class 4A-1A swimming state championship last year for MHS, is perhaps the team’s strongest skill.

“They are fast enough to create offensive opportunities off fastbreaks, and fast enough on defense to limit easy opportunities to our opponents,” DeRoest said. “Our team has some great athletes.”

by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Cade Boston defends the Madras half of the pool during the match against Summit.
Cade Boston, who led the Buffs with four goals against the Storm, is one of the more talented goal scorers on the team, and Ian Goodwin showed off his arm when he scored a pair of goals from long range.

Brady Tucker added another goal to close out the scoring for the Buffs in the Summit match.

Defensively, goalkeeper Mateo Smith kept the Buffs within striking distance the entire game. He made 12 saves on the evening, including a few in which he had to sprawl out and really go after to stop.

“Mateo has really stepped up to the challenge for us,” DeRoest said. “He made some great saves.”

by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Madras water polo player Brady Tucker winds up for a shot against a Summit defender in the White Buffalos' 11-7 loss to the Storm on Thursday at the Madras Aquatic Center.

On the girls side, DeRoest can lean on a pair of all-state caliber players in Sophie Gemelas and Aurora Gerhardt — and he plans to.

“Those two can play as well as anybody in the state, no matter what the division,” DeRoest said, “and we’re going to ride them this season. They are great leaders for our team.”

Gemelas lead all scorers with six goals against the Storm and Gerhardt chipped in a pair. DeRoest said the challenge is going to be putting players around the duo that will maximize the team’s potential.

The flip side of that is not a lot of those players have significant experience in the pool, but DeRoest said they are learning fast and coming along nicely for being relatively new to the game.

“Our supporting cast is just going to get better as the year goes on,” DeRoest said. “If we hustle and gain extra possessions, we should be able to get better and have some fun this year.”

DeRoest said he has been real pleased with the play of Cirelle Frank this season, as well as Melissa Field and Mikayla Weinke. Both Field and Weinke are new to the sport, and DeRoest said their progress has been nice to see.

DeRoest’s biggest issue right now is in goal. Elyse Bagley and Riata Green have been playing there to start the season, and while he feels both of them will be good for the job, it’s Green’s freshman year and Bagley didn’t play last season.

“I still think we’re going to jell pretty well,” DeRoest said. “We’ll get Elyse back into the game a bit, and Riata will be able to learn.”

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