By Rick LeBeau
Special to the Light
On a brisk wintery night at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex, two of La Jolla’s high school girls water polo teams dispensed with their Division III rivals to set up a first ever CIF finals meeting between The Bishop’s School and La Jolla High.
Coming in as the No. 1 seed with only one loss to a county team this season, Bishop's lived up to its billing as the favorite to reach yet another CIF final. The most unusual part of the matchup versus the Coronado Islanders was that the two rivals weren’t meeting in the finals, which is their normal custom.
The Knights scored early and often, opening a 6-0 first quarter lead on the strength of their counter-attack scoring. They built the lead to double digits before the Islanders managed to score with 9 seconds before halftime. Leading 11-1 at intermission, the Knights coasted to a 14-5 win. Carryann Olafsson-Loo and Jessie Webster led the scoring, with five and four goals, respectively. Gabby Stone was dominant in goal, recording 14 saves for Bishops’.
As for the No. 2-seeded Vikings and No. 3 Cathedral Catholic, the teams had just endured two very close, low-scoring games in the previous three weeks, with La Jolla prevailing on both occasions.
The game began with La Jolla earning kick-outs on its first three possessions, allowing them to quickly take advantage of 6-on-5 opportunities. La Jolla converted them all into goals, adding a fourth by Meagan Moreland in the third minute of play to open up a 4-1 lead. Later in the quarter, with 2 seconds remaining on the shot clock, Moreland faked a shot and instead lobbed a perfectly placed pass to Tori Loomis, who pushed the pass by the goalie to give the Vikings a 6-1 first quarter advantage.
From that point forward, La Jolla’s defense was key, denying any momentum to the Dons, who managed to score on their first possession in the third and fourth quarters, They were stifled thereafter. The Vikings’ Victoria Frager scored on three long-range shots plus a 5-meter penalty shot to lead all scorers with four goals. Ariel Arcidiacano put home two goals for La Jolla, who had five different players tallying on the night. The 9-4 final score gave La Jolla their first ever berth in a CIF final for either the boys’ or girls’ teams.
Bishop's will play La Jolla in the Division III final on Saturday, at 5 p.m. at Coggan Pool.