The Davis Water Polo Club sent a 10U squad, two 12U teams and three 14U squads to the National Junior Olympic Age Group Championships earlier this month in Orange Country, with a pair of girls teams (12U and 14U) capturing division titles. The event is the world’s largest water polo tournament as it features 9,000 athletes from all over the country.
That 12U girls squad ended up taking first in the Gold Division despite going 1-2 on the first day. Davis bounced back to defeat American River (16-6), Santa Barbara B (9-4) and Stanford (15-7) to reach the semifinals. A 5-3 win in a rematch against Santa Barbara sent the locals to the finals, where they defeated Mid Valley Polo, 10-7.
The DWPC defense was anchored by goalies Emily Blackwell, Reese Oliver and Molly Burk, while Faith Cerussi, Mattison Harris and Maidson Katzenmyer slowed down opposing attacks. Avery Warhover, Brooke Doten and Brooke Imamato provided Davis’ firepower with counterattack help from sprint specialist Keianna Pineda and Megan Erickson.
Competing in the Championship Bracket, Davis’ 14U girls squad won the Gold Division title with a 2-0 victory over Stanford in the finals.
After opening the tournament with a one-goal loss to SoCal Gold (6-5), DWPC posted a decisive 8-2 win over Chicago Park District. That was followed by another close loss — 6-4 to Pacific Polo — but the locals didn’t drop another match.
Victories over VC United/Gold Coast (4-2), Napa (8-2) and Clovis (6-5) sent Davis into the semifinals, where it edged Del Mar, 6-5.
That’s when the DWPC defense came up huge, holding Stanford scoreless behind tenacious play from goalie Katrina Sturm, Hailey Cavanaugh, Rachel Redman, Emily Tapio, and Sara Valdes-Chabot. Throughout the tournament, Scout Brown, Madelyn Reeves and Moira Williams provided the offensive spark, while Annie Fullerton and Tori Van Court came up with key goals in close games.
14U boys White
By going 5-2 in the tournament, the DWPC’s 14U boys White team finished ninth in the Platinum Division — the highest Platinum finish for a Davis boys team in 15 years of Junior Olympic play.
The locals started by winning two of three first-day games to earn their Platinum-Division spot. Davis kept rolling the next day, beating Orange County SET (11-8) and Chula Vista WPC (13-4) and taking an exciting back-and-forth affair from Newport, 11-10.
The next contest was another close one as DWPC scored with two seconds left in regulation only to fall to Lamorinda in a shootout. A 10-5 win over SoCal WPC put the locals in the ninth-place game, where they topped the L.A. Alliance, 8-7.
For Davis, Garrett Dawson was strong in goal with Josh Orrick, Steven Csaposs, Nick Masson, Kyle Katzenmeyer, Peter Bumberg, Matt Blackwell, Jayson Chacon and Jake Taylor also excelling on defense. Physical offense from Tucker Fisk and Orrick was complimented by the speed of Cameron Wright and Daniel Alvarez.
14U boys Blue
The DWPC’s 14U boys Blue team finished 4-3 overall to take 13th in the Gold Division.
The locals bounced back from a pair of early losses to win four of their final five games, defeating Modesto-Stanislaus (13-9), pounding Pacific Polo (8-2) and West Coast Aquatics (17-5) then edging Tiger Aquatics, 15-13.
Davis’ offense was supplied by Alex Preisler, George Van Vorhis, Nate Burmas and Scott Soderquist, who was particularly savvy, while goalies Spencer Denmin and Lucas Brown ruled the cage. DWPC also got strong defensive performances from Ethan Tran, Liam Lawless-Roberts, Anthony Lucchesi, Jack Liu and Christian Blair.
The DWPC’s 12U boys team won four of its eight games to take 15th in the Gold Division.
Davis’ offense was spearheaded by Daniel Fineberg, Quinn Brown, Dane Peterson, Trey Doten and Jack Johnson, with Teddy Oliver showing his skills in man-up situations and Nicki Preisler and Vanya Soshnikov pacing the counterattack. Meanwhile, Bryce Gregg and Jared Hunt played great perimeter defense in front of Matoshi Bulkeley and Aidan Eagle, who were strong in the cage.
The local wins came over the Dallas Thunder (10-8), C.C. United (10-7 and 9-4) and Pacific Polo (14-6).
The DWPC 10Us showed dramatic individual and team improvement throughout the tournament, on their way to the Gold Division’s bronze medal game. Impressive wins over American River (17-8), the San Diego Shores (12-9) and Greenwich Aquatics (10-8) sent the locals to the semifinals.
In the third-place contest, Davis battled to the end before falling to Mid-Valley, 15-11. DWPC’s nice run was made possible by the strong play of Trey Doten, Josh Davis, James Cerussi, Kimberly Tiss, Lindsay Taylor, Ben Rayls, Sheila Cardenas, William Oliver, Malaya Wright, Anthony Corbett and Lucas Cardenas.