ARROYO GRANDE — Six of the schools that make up the PAC 8 league converged under grey gloomy cloud cover at Arroyo Grande High School Tuesday for the first round games of the league tournament.
The Hounds entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed in pool B, which also included Righetti and Pioneer Valley, while pool A contained Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, and San Luis Obispo.
In the Hounds’ first game of pool play, they faced the Pioneer Valley Panthers and won in dominating fashion. Atascadero jumped out to an early 4-0 lead thanks to two goals from Sierra Montijo and one from Christina Mansir and Ashley Ragain. The Greyhounds played the entire first half on the Pioneer Valley side of the pool. The Hounds were faster and used it to their advantage, continually swimming past Panther defenders like ducks scooting away from an unruly child at the park.
At halftime, the Hounds were up 15-0 and closed out the victory 21-0. The Panthers were the warm-up game for their 6 p.m.
This would be the rubber match between the Hounds and the Warriors this season. The Hounds won the first and most important game in the matchup between the two teams when they beat Righetti at home, 9-7, on Dec. 12 for the first time in seven years. On Jan. 6 the teams met again in a tournament but this time the Warriors emerged victorious 9-5.
Atascadero entered the game with confidence after scoring 21 points in their first game but struggled mightily against the Warriors. The team that had just played the role of the aggressor was now being bullied in the pool. Atascadero ricocheted several early shots off the cage but could not find the back of the net. The Hounds trailed 3-1 at the end of the first quarter and 7-2 at the half.
Tina Bell played an exceptional game, especially in the second half, recording
Righetti won the game 9-3 and advanced to play Arroyo Grande on Thursday night while the Hounds will now play Paso Robles third.
“I think it was a very valuable learning experience for these girls,” Head Coach Jon Conrad said. “I’m impressed with my girls because of the look of disappointment on their face when we lost 9-3 to a Division 3 team and they are disappointed. I am proud of them, I am so proud of them. This was a really good test for us going into CIF because our plan is not to just go to CIF, we want to win. We want to win Division 5 CIF, so games like this are a good test and we will come back stronger after this game.”
Atascadero beat Paso Robles in Paso two weeks ago, 6-3, but in a shallow/deep pool. Both of these teams play in shallow/deep pools during the season and will square off Thursday night in the deep end.
“We are really excited knowing that we already beat them,” Bell said on the matchup. “But we don't want to get in over our heads so we are still preparing.”