Water polo playoffs: Oswald leads Ukiah boys to first NCS win

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Shane Oswald scored nine goals to lead the Ukiah boys water polo team past Piedmont, 15-9, on Wednesday night in the 8-9 matchup of the North Coast Section Division 2 boys water polo playoffs at Soda Aquatics Center in Moraga.

This was the first NCS win for the Ukiah boys water polo program.

“I’m really pleased with these boys,” Ukiah head coach Rick Cleland said. “As our season has gone on, we’ve been able to improve our focus. The intensity has been able to stay high throughout the entire game and that’s what they did (tonight).”

Up next for the Wildcats (11-10): a date with top-ranked Redwood (19-7) on Saturday at Contra Costa College. The quarterfinal game begins at 5 p.m.

“Redwood is awesome,” Cleland said. “They’re well-coached, very deep and have some outstanding players. They’re No. 1 for a reason.

“We will have to be patient. We can’t allow them to counterattack. We have to be patient with the ball, eliminate our turnovers, and hopefully it will be a low-scoring game.”

Ukiah switched to a different defense in the third quarter to try and slow down Piedmont center forward and captain Tristin D’Ambrosi.

“We went to an active zone defense and we were able to keep the ball of out (D’Ambrosi’s) hands a lot of the third and fourth quarter,” said Cleland.

Beau Frandzen had three goals, Teak Larwood had a goal and four assists and Kainoa Carrero had two goals and two assists for Ukiah. Cleland also credited goalkeeper Misha Zaid, who had seven saves in the cage.

BOYS
MARIN ACADEMY 12, 
CARDINAL NEWMAN 11

Jack Stafford and Max Bielen both scored three goals for Cardinal Newman, but the 10th-seeded Cardinals were eliminated in the first round of the NCS Division 2 boys water polo playoffs at Contra Costa College in San Pablo.

Zach Peterson and Gino Tarantino scored two goals and Devin Farber scored once for Cardinal Newman. In goal, Brock Bauer had six saves.

The Cardinals finish their season with a 9-10 record.

GIRLS
PIEDMONT 17, UKIAH 7

Maggie Selzer scored six of Ukiah’s seven goals, but the 11th-seeded Wildcats came up short in the NCS Division 2 girls water polo playoffs, losing to No. 6 Piedmont at Soda Aquatics Center in Moraga.

McKenzie Schutz scored Ukiah’s other goal.

“We passed the ball around very well, particularly in the first half. We had good ball movement,” said Ukiah girls water polo head coach Rick Cleland. “In the second half, they were really tough, got some counterattacks. Our goalie, Shannon Whetzel, made some really nice stops. But it was hard to overcome.”

Ukiah finished with a 13-13 record. The young team, with five freshman and four sophomores, showed a lot of improvement over the season, according to Cleland.

“We had our goalie, our two-meter player (Selzer) and two-meter defender (Schutz) — they were the heart and soul of our team. We had two other players — Maggie Flaherty and Jackie Rhodes — who have some experience. But that was it,” Cleland said.

“The (young players) have come a long way this season. Just their understanding of the game, knowing its physical demands. We played in the toughest league in the Bay Area (MCAL). To make it to NCS, they did remarkably well.”