The Charter Oak girls’ water polo team hosted their first ever CIF playoff home game on Feb. 21 and made even more history after they pulled off an 11-8 win against Yucaipa: they advanced to the semifinals for the first time.
Going into the game, the Lady Chargers were confident that they could win, however they did not let their recent success get the best of them.
“We have not seen Yucaipa yet so we’re going into this game blindly, but we’re confident we will do well,” said senior Devynn Stein before the game. “We have to trust each other and play how we have been playing in these tough games. As long as we do that and don’t break down physically or mentally we will win this game.”
The Chargers started off the game on a hot streak, scoring the first goal of the game within the first 10 seconds. CO would go on to score two more goals until halfway through the first quarter when Yucaipa got on the scoreboard. The two teams traded goals for the remainder of the quarter, and Charter Oak would have a slim 5-4 lead.
The Thunderbirds gained the upper hand in the second quarter. They took the lead early on and completely shut down the Chargers defensively for most of the period. Yucaipa had all the momentum, however CO would take it back late in the quarter and scored the go-ahead goal with a buzzer beater to go into halftime up, 7-6.
The third quarter was mostly a defensive battle. The Chargers scored first, however the Thunderbirds would score a goal of their own before giving up another one to Charter Oak. At the end of the third, the Chargers would be winning by a score of 9-7, seven minutes away from making school history.
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Chargers did anything but coast. They gave up a goal to Yucaipa early on, however from then on they took control of the game for the rest of the way. Charter Oak would win the game 11-8.
With that win, it is safe to say the Charter Oak girls water polo team has cemented their place in Charter Oak history. They will be playing in their first-ever semifinal game on Feb. 25 on the road against Palm Desert High, where they will be continuing their quest for a CIF championship.
— Andres Soto