This year’s girls water polo cross-town rivalry victory went to The Bishop’s School Knights, after they defeated the La Jolla High School Vikings Feb. 1 at their home pool, 9-5. It was the second of two victories this season, after the Knights defeated the Vikings 11-5 on Jan. 3.
The Knights are now 15-6-1 overall and 6-0 in the league, against the Vikings’ 16-8 overall and 1-5 in the league.
The rivalry opened aggressively in Bishop’s pool, with a quick shot by Viking junior Jessica Newell to start the scoring in the first quarter. But it wasn’t long before the Knights answered, with Sierra Martin scoring after about three minutes (she went on to score two more goals over the course of the night). From there, it was a veritable quid pro quo, with the two teams scoring back and forth, ending the first quarter 4-3 Bishop’s.
The second quarter rolled out a little more slowly, with the first two minutes of the second quarter remaining scoreless. Throughout the second quarter, instead of attempted shots that prompted a change in possession, it was more an expiration of the 30-second shot clock that changed which team took possession. And while both teams took a comparable number of shots in the second quarter, Bishops was more precise, especially junior Mia Salatka (No. 11).
But the Knights got two goals in, ending the second quarter 6-3.
Hoping for a revival in the third quarter, La Jolla scored its first (but what would be its only) goal within the first minute to bring the score to 6-4 Bishop’s. But the Knights managed to keep up and scored one of their own about a minute-and-a-half later ... and another a minute after that, to end the third quarter 8-4.
Similarly, the fourth quarter started slowly, with little activity. Each team got one last shot to close the game, with a final score of 9-5 Bishop’s.
Bishop’s School Knights coach Doug Peabody later told the Light: “Overall, I thought we did a good job executing defensively … and did what we needed to do to limit their shot opportunities. On offense, we picked our shots that didn’t allow us to give anything up.”
Of Salatka, he added: “She is considered like a quarterback (in football); she facilitates the offense by being a strong shooter and plays defense on the primary attacker on the other team. She is settling in and figuring out how to run offense, when to pass, when to shoot and when to drive through. Every position is important, but she has a lot of responsibility so it’s extremely important.”
While the two La Jolla teams will not face off again during regular season, both have qualified for this year’s CIF play-offs. The quarterfinals are Feb. 7, at which time The Bishop’s School will take on Rancho Bernardo at 4 p.m., and La Jolla High School will take on Cathedral Catholic at 5:15 p.m.
The winners from these two games will square off in the semifinals Feb. 13. All CIF games will be played at Coggan Pool on the La Jolla High School campus, 750 Nautilus St.
The Bishop’s School Knights are seeded No. 1 going into the playoffs.
“We’re excited to keep growing and practicing every day to get where we need to be,” Peabody said. “We’re a young team with only one senior so we are looking forward to see how we do.”