Fountain Valley High School’s girls’ water polo team battled hard at the Ocean View Girls’ Water Polo Tournament Jan. 22 and 23. The Barons competed in five games and won two of them, making them fourth place overall.
The team won their first game against Lakewood High School with a score of 8-3. Key players include senior Lexi Cooper and freshmen Kalia Wesley and Nicole Waldschmidt who helped put the Barons on the scoreboard.
In their second game later that night against Xavier High School, the Barons fought hard but finished with a 3-11 loss.
The Barons started off the tournament on Saturday with a 6-0 victory over South Torrance High School. Sophomores Reese Meister, Jessica Jang and Jianna Balta scored one, two and three points, respectively. Balta also took part in key turnovers for the Barons alongside the team’s goalie, junior Megan Lundquist, who saved several close shots throughout the game.
The win led the team to play in a hard-fought semifinal against Villa Park High School, which ultimately resulted in a 4-9 loss. The first half of the game ended with a close score of 2-4, but the Barons lost their momentum in the second half of the game.
Wesley scored early on with a far shot into the corner of the goal, and Balta scored later in the first quarter following an assist. Junior Juli Stock helped hold off Villa Park with strong defensive plays alongside Lundquist who made some crucial saves throughout.
In addition to playing a significant role in the team’s defense, Jang scored a goal for the Barons in the third quarter. Cooper scored FVHS’s final goal of the game during the last quarter.
The Barons closed the tournament with a game against Marina High School for third place. They ultimately finished in fourth overall when the game ended in a 2-8 loss.
Jang started the game with a goal following an assist from Waldschmidt, but the team suffered from several ejections in the first half, during which Marina scored the majority of their points. Both Balta and Stock were ejected early on, leaving the team down two players temporarily. After being ejected a second time, the team was left without Stock for the remainder of the game.
Lundquist was also ejected at the end of the first quarter and part of the second, forcing Wesley, Waldschmidt and Meister to cover the goal. After coming back into the game, Lunquist had several saves, but ultimately the first half ended in a 1-5 deficit.
During the second half, Cooper scored the team’s second goal and Balta was ejected a second time but returned to the game and made significant efforts on the offensive front. However, a series of long shots by Marina, which was a main characteristic for the overall game, allowed them to finish with a six-point lead.
“The team did well defensively and did a great job preparing for a long weekend of games,” head coach Kyle Adama said. “The girls did a great job transitioning from league games to divisional competition in the tournament. We even played well against [teams from] … higher-ranked divisions.”
The Barons will compete in a home game against Marina High School at Westminster High School on Thursday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m.