Water polo: Nevada Union draws Rocklin to open SFL tourneys | TheUnion.com

Water polo: Nevada Union draws Rocklin to open SFL tourneys

The Nevada Union water polo teams have been mired in rough waters this season, combating some of the top teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section on a weekly basis. But as the season nears an end, the Miners have one last chance to make a splash.

The Sierra Foothill League boys and girls water polo tournaments get started today at the Roseville Aquatics Center. The tournament spans the next week and a half with the finals being played Oct. 30.

The Nevada Union boys and the girls teams are yet to earn a SFL win this season, both teams going 0-5 in league play.

Despite the rough run through the first part of the SFL, NU head coach Lotty Hellested said her teams continue to develop their skill sets and are improving each week.

“My main thing is I’m a teacher and that’s how I am with water polo,” she said. “No matter what team I have, no matter what level they are at, I approach it like we are learning the game. We’re learning to be better players individually and were learning to be better as a team. So even some of those games where we got worked pretty good, we’re still working on a piece of our game.”

For the girls team, they started the season with a new head coach as Hellested took over for Craig Zetterberg, who died in March of a heart attack. Zetterberg had coached the girls team the previous six years.

“Its been hard,” said Hellested. “Any time you take over a team people are sad because their coach is gone, so there is a transition there, and then you take what happened with Craig, it makes it like times 100.”

In addition to coping with the coaching change, the girls team also lost All-Sac-Joaquin Section player and three-year starter Nicole Blaney to graduation, and has been bitten by the injury bug this year, said Hellested. The team has found quality play from Shauna Latter, Jessica Murphy and Sarah Cudworth, said Hellested.

The girls open the SFL tourney at 4 p.m. today against SFL No. 2 Rocklin (4-1 SFL). The first time NU and Rocklin met up the Lady Miners lost 16-8. Del Oro leads the girls SFL standings with a perfect 5-0 record in league play.

For the boys team, they also open the SFL tourney with a match against SFL No. 2 Rocklin (4-1), a tall task for the Miners who lost to Rocklin 16-6 the first time they met. Granite Bay is the front-runner in the SFL with a perfect 5-0 league record.

“We’ve got a really strong league with the SFL,” Hellested said. “We got Granite Bay who is always strong, Woodcreek who is always strong and Oak Ridge that moved into our league and their one of the strong teams.”

The Miners are led by Ethan Good. The senior has been instrumental to helping bring some of the younger Miners along, said Hellested.

“Ethan is a real strong player, hole defender and team leader,” she said. “He’s been awesome this year as far as being a patient team leader. He’s really been a leader and someone who has passed along the knowledge he has.”

The boys hit the pool today at 2 p.m. at the Rosevile Aquatics Center.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

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