The El Capitan High girls water polo team couldn’t solve the Bella Vista defense.
The Broncos focused in on Gauchos star Kendall Thomas, sending a second defender anytime she drove to the cage or set up inside.
Sixth-seeded Bella Vista held the El Capitan freshman to just one goal as the Broncos upset No. 3 El Capitan 9-5 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II quarterfinals on Thursday evening at the Gauchos Aquatic Center.
“They ran a soft drop on us and our girls didn’t adjust,” said El Capitan coach Andy Seto, whose team finishes with an 18-13 record. “We’re not the type of team that is going to make any excuses. We had plenty of shots to make that a game. They were the better team tonight.”
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Jessica Delgado-Martinez led El Capitan with two goals.
After trailing 2-1 after one quarter, the Gauchos tied the game early in the second quarter with a Delgado-Martinez goal.
However, the Broncos closed out the first half with four consecutive goals to open up a 6-2 lead. Jasmine Amber scored of her three goals in the final 3:14 of the second quarter. Daphne Miller and Tori Saenz also added goals during the run.
The Gauchos opened the second half with goals by Delgado-Martinez and Taylor Conley to pull within 6-4 with 3:30 left in the third quarter.
The Broncos answered with goals by Mia Abner and Jasmine Abner to extend the lead back out to 8-4 with 6:42 left in the game.
It was a sudden end to another successful season. The Gauchos won their fourth consecutive league championship by winning a co-championship with Buhach Colony. El Capitan did it with a new coach in Seto and almost an entirely new team that featured freshmen Thomas, Alexis Smith and sophomore Marlo Carpenter in the starting lineup.
“For a young team with little experience, I think we exceeded a lot of people’s expectations,” Seto said. “My expectation was a Division II championship so we didn’t exceed my expectations. I think we saw what this team is capable of in glimpses this season. Next year we’ll come back.”
Buhach Colony 9, Whitney 5 in Rocklin – The fifth-seeded Thunder will move on to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinals after knocking out the fourth-seeded Wildcats. Erin McBride paced BC with four goals and Ashland Alcorn added three goals. Pam Solano chipped in with two goals and 10 steals.
Buhach Colony goalie Tarveen Takhar stopped 11 shots in the cage.
The Thunder will face No. 1 seed Rio Americano on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at Johansen High in Modesto. Rio Americano blitzed Ponderosa 14-2 on Thursday.