Miners sink Bruins
With the Sierra Foothill League making the change to a single round robin format this year, the Nevada Union and Bear River water polo teams will only meet once in league this season. So they decided to make an event of it.
Facing off in the Nevada Union pool, the teams met during school hours so that students could come watch, making for some of the highest attended water polo games ever at Nevada Union.
The girls hit the water first with the Lady Miners jumping on the Lady Bruins early, then using stellar defense to hold on the rest of the way.
Nevada Union improved to 3-0 in the SFL, beating Bear River, 9-3.
The Lady Miners jumped out a 3-0 edge in the first quarter, coming on three Nicole Blaney goals. The senior captain hit a penalty shot, then less than a minute later won a scrum in front of the net and pushed the ball past the Bear River goalie. With just over two minutes remaining in the quarter, she netted her third coming off a pretty pass from goalie Taylor Masch.
“I feel like we mesh very well as a team,” Blaney said. “We have a strong offense, a strong defense and we want to go far.”
Blaney finished the day with six goals and two assists.
“Everything goes through her,” Nevada Union head coach Craig Zetterberg said of Blaney. “She’s the catalyst offensively, she’s the catalyst defensively, I think she is the best player in the league.”
While Blaney was notching goals on the offensive end, Masch was sending back shots sent at the NU net. Masch finished with 10 saves and added a pair of assists.
“She’s really good at blocking shots that are in tight,” Zetterberg said. “She’s got really good reflexes, and the passing, in a small pool, if she’s not spot- on, those are turnovers and goals going the other way. Yet, she puts it right on the money and that’s what got us the lead — her assists and passing.”
Also contributing to Nevada Union’s strong defensive effort was freshmen Shawna Latter.
“Honestly, it was the ability of Shawna Latter as a freshman to listen to what I had to say and fix it on the fly. Which is rare,” Zetterberg said.
“She knew what I was talking about, and she was great defensively.”
Ellie DeMartini was also in the mix tallying steals and causing trouble for the Bear River shooters.
“Ellie is our hole D and she is dynamite in the hole,” Blaney said. “She’s always getting steals and stuff, and we have Faith (Robichaud) who can jump in front of the ball; her lunges are so powerful.
“Taylor (Masch) had spot- on passes today and her blocks were so good. We couldn’t have done it without her. She picked up all of our mistakes.”
Robichaud tallied two goals and two assists, and Maddie Hedenland added a goal to round out the NU scoring.
For Bear River the scoring was limited, with only one goal in the first three quarters before slipping two past NU late in the fourth.
Nicolle Kelly, Cella Sands and Michelle Whiting netted goals for Bear River. In the goal for Bear River was Sarah Holderman, who finished with seven saves.
Nevada Union is now 11-4-1 overall and 3-0 in league play and an Oct. 9 match with Granite Bay as their next SFL test.
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