Buck Fires Polo Winner as Time Expires

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Sarah Orders

Hannah Buck looks for an open teammate during the NCS Div II Finals. Buck scored the game winning goal as time expired in the last minute of the game.

Sarah Orders, Asst. Editor-in-Chief

The top seeded girls’ water polo team won the North Coast Section Division II championship game against Acalanes 8 – 7. The Cougars clinched the victory in the final minute of the game when sophomore Hannah Buck fired a shot past the Acalanes goalie.

“It was such a relief. We needed that to get in the goal. I just couldn’t believe it,” Buck said of her late game heroics. “I knew we could do it and I was so happy to do it for the seniors,” said Buck, referring to captains Christy Faoro, Sara Torchio and Sam Flower.The squad took an early lead with a goal from sophomore Brooke Presten and dominated a majority of play; However, they were set back in the later stages of the competition by a high number of kick outs, which occur as a result of certain fouls committed by a player.

Flower was kicked out for the third time in the second quarter, resulting in her ejection from the match.

Like in basketball, after a certain number of fouls, a player is permanently removed from play. In water polo, after 3 kick outs, the player may not return to the game. Junior Annika Jensen was also ejected in the middle of the fourth quarter, which meant that bench players, including Buck, had to step up.

“It was hard when they got kicked out as Sam and Annika are two of our best players, but we knew we could do it,” said Buck.

These ejections, along with late goals from Acalanes, lead to a close 4th quarter, which was stressful for the team, according to Faoro. “It became so stressful at the end, but when we scored it just felt like a great ending to a really good year,” she said.

According to Faoro, winning NCS had been a team goal from the beginning of the season. “We wanted to have no regrets this season,” she added.

After falling to Las Lomas in the NCS final last year, the team focused this year on playing to their potential each time they hit the pool, according to  Flower. “We try to be a 4 quarter team, winning every quarter in a game,” Flower said.

The Cougars ended the season with a record of 24- 1. “We only lost once this year and it was a big deal for us to be able to leave the season on top,” Faoro said.

This section championship appearance was the Cougars’ 4th consecutive. They won the NCS title in 2010 against Acalanes, so this year’s final was a rematch with many players from both sides returning from that game.

The Cougars advanced to the finals after a semi-final victory over league rival Miramonte. The Cougars made a second half surge and won the game 10 – 7, after going into halftime with the score 4 – 3.