The Sonora High girls water polo team is headed to the Sac-Joaquin finals Saturday after an 18-3 win over Beyer High Wednesday night.
They will play Kimball High of Tracy in the championship game for the third consecutive year. Two years ago, Kimball topped Sonora and last year Sonora returned the favor.
“This is a rubber match of sorts,” Coach Matt Personius said Thursday.
This will be Kimball’s fourth consecutive appearance in the Sac-Joaquin final. Kimball is 19-10 and 6-2 in the Valley Oak League.
He said the team didn’t know what to expect from Beyer of Modesto because they had not seen them play this season.
“We came out and played our regular game and it went well for us,” he said.
Sophomore Megan Slater and junior Emily Van Noord were the high scorers with five each, followed by junior Kayla Landman with three and sophomore Sydney Simon, a new varsity player this year, had two.
Personius said this year’s team is better balanced and has more depth than some previous teams he’s coached.
“Player by player they understand the game,” he said.
The team has had an easy conference playoff so far, dominating opponents. They trounced the El Camino Eagles of Sacramento 23-3 last Friday. They are seeded No. 1 in Division III and were perfect in the Mother Lode League. Kimball is the second seed in Division III.
Kimball Coach Tess DeLange told the Tracy Press the close loss (6-5) to Sonora last year will motivate her team.
“It’s something we’ve been working for all season and I think it’s something we’re good enough to do,” she told the Tracy Press. “We want to get back at them.”
Personius said he’s viewing the final as any other game.
“We been working really hard all year, not just as a defensive team but also on our execution on offense, to be a consistently physically dominating team,” he said. We are imminently capable of winning.”
Personius said Sonora is guaranteed a spot in the NorCal playoff and, if they win Saturday, will host the first round on Tuesday.
The Sonora-Kimball match-up begins at 10 a.m Saturday at city-owned Roseville Aquatics Complex, 3051 Woodcreek Oaks Blvd. in Roseville. The complex is next to Woodcreek High School.