DVC defeated in regular season finale

Gabriel Agurcia

DVC’s women’s water polo team was defeated by American River College 10-4 on Wednesday, Oct. 30 in the final game of the regular season.

Defense ruled most of the first half, and especially the first quarter.

Only a few shots were taken by both teams. Most possessions ended on shot clock violations or missed shots.

DVC’s closest shot came from Lara Visser. Her attempt was deflected by ARC’s goalie and bounced off the crossbar. ARC answered with a close call of their own, grazing a shot off the top of goal.

Starting goalie Molly West put on a show in the second quarter.

She started right away with a nice, one-handed save to her upper right. A couple minutes later she reached down to her lower left, trapping a shot in front of the goal, then followed with a snatch of the ball out of mid-air.

ARC eventually broke through first with 2:16 left in the quarter. Swinging the ball from one side of the pool to the other, a shot was fired to the lower left corner for a 1-0 lead.

The Beavers scored again just over a minute later. Then, the highlight of the game occurred.

With 10 seconds left, attacker Caroline Howard got the ball. Nearly the entire pool length away from ARC’s goal, Howard turned on the jets, her arms nearly blurring as they sliced through the water. With only two seconds remaining, and almost half the pool away, Howard fired a shot to the upper right corner of goal. ARC’s goalie couldn’t react in time, the shot hitting the back of the net as the first half horn sounded.

Howard gave her first-hand synopsis of the final second: “They had just scored twice, and I was just like, ‘No, we have this.’ So I busted my butt to get the steal, and I just swam, and nobody came to guard me. I was just like, I’m gonna do this. So I swam as hard and fast as I could, got up, shot, and I shot cross-cage, and scored. It was such a great way to finish the first half, to show that we can stick with this team.”

The Vikings trailed just 2-1 at the half.

ARC began to pull away in the third quarter.

Shelby Salling replaced West in goal for DVC in the second half, and ARC quickly figured out a way to shoot at her.

The Beavers scored early in the quarter with a floater over Salling’s head. After making a nice 1-on-1 save, another shot floated over Salling’s head with 4:16 remaining for a 4-1 ARC lead.

Salling continued to hold her own, making another close range save. But after three shots pounded the crossbar in a three minute span, ARC scored again via the floater to take a 5-1 lead into the the final quarter.

DVC scored its second goal early in the fourth. Center Ghitta Ferrara’s shot deflected off the crossbar, and everyone but Howard let it go. Howard scooped up the ball and tossed a shot into goal to make it 5-2.

ARC immediately put up two more goals before two meter defender Renae Dibartolomeo got in close and floated a shot over the goalie’s head for a 7-3 deficit.

Howard scored her third goal with 38 seconds left. However, it was too little too late, as the game ended in favor of ARC, 10-4.

“If we played our offense like we played our defense, it could have been a different result,” Howard said.

Head coach Rick Millington spoke of the tale of two halves.

“We played a great first half. Actually, into the third quarter we played very well. But they have more depth than we do, and we made some mistakes which were costly,” he said.

Of his team’s inability to get more manageable shots, Millington couldn’t help but see some officiating issues.

“The referees just didn’t let us play our game,” Millington said. “That hurt us. There’s no explanation for why they called the game the way they did. We have to work on things that make sure the game is called the way it should be.”

This game aside, Millington was very proud of his team’s effort over the course of the regular season. “I think, considering the size of team we had, we did very well. Getting 16 wins, with more games coming next week, very good. Very good.”

Howard was optimistic despite the loss saying, “There’s been wins and losses, and we’ve learned from both. My motto is to take a positive and a negative from every single game, no matter what the outcome is, and take that into the next game.”

DVC finishes the regular season 16-7. They look to make a statement in the Big 8 Conference Championship, being held on DVC’s campus from Thursday Nov. 7 through Saturday Nov. 9.