Sunday, March 29, 2015

Five consecutive SJS title wins now notched in DHS belt

From page B1 | November 17, 2013 |


The DHS girls celebrate their fifth straight section title by dumping coach Doug Wright into the pool. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

Quinque, cinco, cinq, fünf, wu …

However you say it, five is a number that the Davis High girls water polo team wanted to own Saturday. And the Blue Devils claimed it — their fifth consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section title — with a dominating 11-3 win over St. Francis at Roseville Aquatics Center.

This digit also was significant for DHS when it beat Woodcreek for the 500th victory in the program’s history early this season at the same venue. Since the first DHS water polo team took to the pool in 1996, the Devils have won the section crown 11 times.

The Davis mentor who has provided guidance throughout each of those championship seasons, Doug Wright, was ecstatic — and soaked as well, following a celebratory plunge — after his Blue Devils topped the Troubadours.

“It’s really cool, because the first group that I had that got five in a row like this, back in 2000, was such a special group, and now I’ve been lucky enough to get another special and talented group,” he said. “I think we’ll be able to make it six.”

DHS senior Lauren Owens, a graduating player who will be sorely missed in future title runs, nailed a pair of goals not long into Saturday’s contest that foreshadowed the pressure the Blue Devils would exert throughout.

Heather Johnson, another senior whose impact as a Blue Devil cannot be disregarded, used her speed to secure possession for Davis in all but one quarter-starting sprint during the match — opening up the possibility for these early goals.

DHS found the net four more times in the first nine minutes of the showdown — the 10th straight between the Devils and Troubadours in the section finals — before St. Francis’ Eileen Walsh put her team on the board. But by then, the offensive contributions from locals Kinsey Van Deynze, Alyssa Alvarez and Kendall Doten had forged a 6-1 divide.

With junior Colby Stapleton giving the Blue Devils another goal to further the deficit, the Troubadours entered halftime with an uphill battle ahead of them as the score read 7-1.

The St. Francis attackers, whose shots had rebounded off the goalpost five times in the second quarter, were finding the net no easier in the next period. Meanwhile, Mara Dominguez, Johnson and Doten brought DHS to a comfortable 10-1 lead by the end of the third quarter.

But even when the Troubadours launched the ball toward the cage, trusty Devil goalie Mattie Lilliedoll often squashed hopes of it making it past her barrier-like guard. Lilliedoll tallied six saves altogether.

Sisters Jennalyn and Brinnley Barthels managed to tally once each for St. Francis in the fourth quarter, but so did Van Deynze before the game closed out.

Wright spoke to the inspiring performance of the Blue Devils following the buzzer sounding:

“I told the team (before Saturday’s title match) that if we played as well as we could that it might end up being a lopsided win,” he said. “They played creatively, effectively and up to their potential. I’m proud of them.”

Johnson and Owens each finished with two goals in their career finales, while sophomores Doten and Van Deynze matched that total.

— Reach Brett Johnson at [email protected] or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett



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