From 6:44 to the 4:53 mark of the first quarter, Cabrillo’s girls water polo team fired in its first four goals to set the tone for the rest of the day against its city rival.
Nicole Zarinan, Jillian Larson, Jackie Garcia and Mary Rhodes threw the ball inside the net to ignite the early offensive attack for the Conquistadores before rolling to the 17-2 rout of Lompoc on Wednesday at the Lompoc Aquatic Center.
Head coach Scott Larson said Cabrillo’s ball movement was largely responsible for that fast start against the Braves.
“It was much better,” Larson said after the game. “We’ve been working on getting more motion in on our offense plus a little more diversity: Passing the ball, communicating and getting better passing. And we wanted to play a better team game than what we’ve been doing – and I thought we improved quite a bit.”
Cabrillo (2-5, 1-0 in the Los Padres League) played at a fast pace from the early period – needing just two passes before flinging the ball inside the net to build the early momentum.
At the 2:38 mark of the first, Ashlyn Wiswall continued Cabrillo’s scoring run – tossing the ball inside to make it 5-0.
Lompoc (2-3, 0-1 in the LPL), which only had one active reserve in the contest, got on the board with 2:38 left in the first quarter as Abigail Pangilinan broke the possibility of a shutout with her goal.
But Cabrillo continued to score at will from there. Wiswall and Katie Hunt would score the next three goals for the Conqs before the end of the first quarter, catapulting CHS to an 8-1 first quarter lead.
The Conqs, who are working with Larson for the second season in a row, continued their scoring in the second quarter – as Garcia, Larson, Gretchen Von Protz, Lianna Carlon and Kayla Ogan all got the yellow ball past the goalkeeper, placing CHS up 15-2 before halftime.
Ogan and Carlon scored the last two goals for CHS during the third quarter. Running clock was initiated in the fourth quarter. Pangilinan was the only Brave who scored throughout the day.
Garcia was one of the primary performers for Larson and the Conqs, which the head coach says is expected from her.
“She’s one of our biggest players and one of our strongest players. We need our key players to perform,” Larson said, as Garcia finished with four goals including three in the second quarter.
Much like the rest of the Santa Maria and Lompoc Valley girls water polo teams, Cabrillo found itself having the dilemma of working some practices in during the December Thomas Fire. Larson said that was a challenge for him and the Conqs.
“It was a little disappointing the first week when we didn’t practice at all,” Larson said. “But the Lompoc Aquatic Center has been really helpful. Once we were able to get available times, we were able to get some practices in here. At the high school, luckily they had the pool cleaned up in time.”
Larson, overall, was pleased with the execution of the Conqs’ offense against the Braves. He also likes the fact that this start to league play establishes more confidence for a CHS team that got off to a slow start and then had a long layover due to the recent blaze.
“I was very happy with their process and executing those plays,” Larson said. “I think for us, this is a big confidence booster. We knew the kind of game it was going to be. We wanted to do those things to build momentum for the league and having a win is important.”
Lompoc returns home next Wednesday to face Santa Ynez.