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Girls Water Polo Loses a Close One to Memorial in First District Game

By Michele Higgins, 09/13/22, 12:15PM CDT


It was a showdown at WW Emmons natatorium on Friday night: Stratford v Memorial. The Spartan girls started off slowly with no goals in the first quarter, trailing 0-4 to the Mustangs. Second period saw stepped-up action with outstanding defense coming from the entire field: sophomores Hana Riley and Avery Garcia, senior Gwendolyn Beach, senior captain Ashley Cooper, and juniors Emma Jackson and Lily Askounis all credited with multiple steals and forced turnovers that held Memorial to zero goals in the 2nd period. Askounis muscled in a 5-meter penalty shot for the Spartan’s first goal of the game.

Second half saw outstanding defensive and offensive play from the Spartan girls. Freshman Molly Kate Minyard started off with a steal and solid shot on goal; soph Sarah Beth Roady helped hold off the Mustangs. Senior Ashley Cardin hustled for turnovers; goalie senior captain Caroline Smith marked a couple monster saves. Avery Garcia maneuvered her way to the Mustang end and popped in a goal. Emma Jackson continued making plays on forced turnovers selflessly flipping the ball to Lily Askounis for a quick inside score; 3-5 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Askounis won her 4th swim-in of the night keeping the ball in Spartan possession. A long pass from Emma Jackson resulted in a beautiful close-in goal from Gwen Beach. Continued strong defense from Beach, Cardin, Cooper, and Jackson kept the ball in Spartan hands. A fingertip save and a monster block for Caroline Smith in the 4th. With about two minutes to go, Ashley Cooper found herself in a tough face-off with the Mustang goalie and opted for a strategic lob in, bringing the game within one point. But, a win wasn’t in the stars. Final score: Stratford 5, Memorial 6. The Spartan girls have another shot at Memorial -- Friday the 23rd. Game on.

Next game for the girls is Tuesday afternoon against St Agnes at the Strake Jesuit pool.