ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Greyhounds water polo teams hosted the San Luis Obispo Tigers on a busy day at Atascadero High School that saw four water polo games and three volleyball games all within 100 yards of each other.
The boys kicked off the pair of varsity matches but as the match played out Atascadero continued to make mistakes and the Tiger players capitalized on them time and time again.
“Frustration I think would be the keyword,” Greyhounds head coach Jon Conrad said. “We have yet to put together a perfect game, too many mistakes have been costing us games. The boys are tired of shooting themselves in the foot and it is just one of those things where as the season progresses they are going to jell more, they will start reading the plays better, it’ll be a better game for them. We are still working on the kinks and the loose ends.”
The Hounds trailed 8-3 at halftime and continually played a man down due to costly exclusions that gave SLO the man-up advantage. Owen
After the loss, the Hounds gathered together around their coach for a long team meeting.
“I was trying to remind them who they are,” Conrad said. “They are a much better team than they are showing right now and they really have to focus on minimizing their mistakes they make and we have to not dwell on the mistake in the middle of the game we can’t worry about the things we have no control over like the reffing and we got to play better water polo.”
The boys are now 4-4 on the season and 1-2 in the Mountain League.
Less than 10 seconds into the game, senior Ashley Ragain ripped a beautiful back-hand shot, spinning clockwise like a top, in the deep end to fool the SLO goalie and the rout was on.
“It was great, it is good confidence,” girls head coach Rob Rucker said following the game. “This team, they always come out a little tight, so if we can score that quick goal in the first possession it just really lightens up the mood. We had a big first quarter and it just turns their whole mental game around. It’s cool when we can get ahead early like that it just allows the girls to go out and have fun.”
Less than 4 minutes into the game and the Hounds already had a 5-0 lead. Their second goal came on a fast break from senior Cristina Mansir who sprinted the length of the pool with two defenders on either side of her. Several feet before reaching the cage she poked a no-look pass to Jasmyn Kaczmarek who buried it into the back of the net.
Atascadero was moving the ball well on offense and continually found the open girl for the best shot. A few minutes after Mansir’s assist, Evelyn Rinkenberger drew two defenders and set up Makayla Power for an easy one-on-one with the Tigers’ goalie.
“Everybody got to play,” Rucker said. “Keara [Kaczmarek] had been out basically since the first day of practice with a broken collarbone, so she was able to get back in today and score a goal. Maddie [Howell] came out of the cage and actually scored a goal in the fourth quarter. When they can do that and start having fun they are a totally different team.”
Atascadero will be on the road for the remainder of September with their next home match coming Oct. 3 against Nipomo High School.