By Rick LeBeauOn yet another beautiful sunny winter day in La Jolla, The Bishop’s School hosted Western League rival Coronado last week in a girls water polo match to help decide possible seedings for CIF playoffs.
As a preface, it should be noted that Bishop’s has been on a great run in January. Having bounced back from an early season 5-4 record, the team tore through teams from Orange and Los Angeles counties on the way to winning the TYR Cup mid-month. The TYR Cup event is an invitational for elite teams, and the Knights toyed with the competition in romping to the tourney crown.
Back to league play, Bishop’s had already dispatched La Jolla and Cathedral Catholic prior to meeting Coronado on the final day of January. The day was set aside to celebrate the involvement of three outstanding senior players, all of whom are bound for a collegiate water polo career. Together, Erin Pannek, Dylan Pinkalla, and Gabby Stone have shared one CIF championship and are eager to go out on a winning note. Coach Doug Peabody appears to have them positioned perfectly to repeat as section champion in Division III.
The three seniors have more in common than just success in water polo. All three are outstanding students, averaging above 4.0 in rigorous courses of study at The Bishop’s School, which is no mean feat while playing year round water polo, including national team and Olympic Development program involvement. Gabby Stone, considered the best goalie in the county the last two seasons, will be attending Stanford to play for the Cardinal. Pannek will be playing her collegiate water polo for Indiana, and Pinkalla is still sorting her options, which could see her playing on either coast.
As for the game versus Coronado, the Knights jumped out to a strong start, with Junior Jessie Webster scoring three goals in before the third minute of play had elapsed. The Islanders then went on a run of their own, tying the score with 2 minutes to go in the first quarter. Coronado managed to keep it somewhat close , but gave up a goal with 13 seconds to go before half to trail by three, 7-4.
The third quarter belonged to the Knights, however, as they ran off five goals while shutting out the Islanders to take a 12-4 lead into the final stanza. The fourth quarter was still more of the Jessie Webster offensive show, as she scored three more goals to finish with nine for the game. Coronado managed to score very with four seconds left in the game, but it was too little and far too late, as Bishop’s cruised home with a 16-8 victory.
Heading toward the final two weeks of league play, the Lady Knights have a firm grasp as the top seed going into the CIF Playoffs later this month. Their chief competitors for a berth in the finals will be La Jolla, and Cathedral Catholic, respectively. Look for Bishop’s to play Coronado as their semifinal opponent in late February.