Wednesday, November 13, 2013

St. Francis Water Polo Advances to Section Final

(thanks to Steve Shaff of St. Francis for this story)

LODI, Calif. – The St. Francis water polo team overcame a four-goal deficit to post a sudden death victory over Granite Bay in the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals at Tokay High School Wednesday.

Sophomore Julie Zanobini, who lives in Davis, scored the game winner at the 2:41 mark of the second overtime, advancing St. Francis into the section finals for the 10th consecutive season.

“It was awesome,” said Zanobini. “It is probably the best feeling I have ever had.”

Granite Bay (18-11) score four goals in the opening period to take a 4-0 lead. Junior Kat Cohen scored three times and Sophie Johnson added a fourth goal.

“They capitalized on our mismatches,” said Head Coach Heather Moody. “Our game plan was to make sure we were marking Kat Conen and Grace Reego. They attacked and we were off a little bit. We didn’t really establish our defense. They took advantage. They were ready to go, more than we were, and we had to fight back.”

The Troubadours (17-12) chipped away at the lead over the next three periods. Senior Brinnley Barthels scored the first of her two goals with 2:45 left in the second period. Junior Emily Reinl cut the deficit to two 30 seconds later. 
St. Francis' Julie Zanobini scored the winning
goal in OT for the Troubadours

“We established our defense,” said Moody. “If you have a solid defense then your transition into offense is going to work a lot easier than scrambling. We were able to hold them, they did not have that offensive attack and we were able to transition and get the ball into the center position live and let our centers go to work.”

Maggie Oys scored in the third quarter to cut the lead to 4-3 and Barthels tied it with 5:14 left. Neither team has able to find the cage in the final minutes, forcing the overtime period.

“We fought back by playing tough defense and trusting our shots would go in,” said Julie Zanobini.

In the first of two, three-minute periods, St. Francis scored on a Lauren Charter goal at the 1:24 mark. But it did not hold up at Megan Plank scored for the Grizzlies in the second overtime period, forcing the sudden death second overtime.

Zanobini scored at the 2:06 mark to seal the victory. Goalie Sophie Rubino had 14 goals in the game.

St. Francis will play Davis in the section final for the 10th consecutive season on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. at Woodcreek High School. Davis won 9-8 in 2012 on a late goal and won an earlier matchup against St. Francis 11-7.

 “It is a big deal and we are really excited to be there,” said Zanobini. “It is a good opportunity.”

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