LODI — It’s one thing to dominate a quarter. It is another thing to own it.
Ripon High’s Ty Wells and Kole Gonzalez did just that Wednesday, scoring six goals between them in the third period of their 17-11 Sac-Joaquin Section Division III water polo semifinal win over Oakmont of Roseville at Tokay High School’s Edward Seiferling Pool.
Gonzalez scored two of his six goals in the third period
“After slacking a little in the second period, we really got our act together in the third,” Gonzalez said. “We got a little bit nervous but then we really stepped it up.”
Wells led all scorers with six goals, and scored four in the third period.
“Anyone can start out good but it doesn’t matter if you can’t finish strong,” Wells said. “We kind of petered out a little in the second quarter but then we showed them it was our game and we wanted it more.”
The Indians (16-6) started the first half like they did the second – on fire. Four different players – Nick Gagnon, Diego Moreno, Noah Esenwein, and Gonzalez helped Ripon shoot out to a 5-0 lead, with Esenwein scoring two in that blitz.
“That was a good way to start,” Indians coach Erik Zador said. “Our offense was definitely a lot better than the last game.
“Our defense struggled a little not connecting but offensively our shots were going in and our communication was there.”
The Vikings (22-8) crept back into the game late in the second quarter at 6-4, but Wells got two quick goals to bump the Ripon lead back up to 8-4. Oakmont made one more run in the fourth period, closing to 15-11 with 2:07 left in the game, but Gonzalez and Daniel Eisenwein slammed the door with two more goals.
Ripon goalie Darnay Mack was appreciative of the early lead the Indians put up.
“That early lead built a lot of confidence,” Mack said. “Especially when I was looking away from the scoreboard – not knowing how much time was left or how far we were ahead – but it was nice to have that start and it gave a lot of confidence to everybody.
“They had great shot selection – some that they put in on me I couldn’t do anything about – so I guess I got lucky on a few of them.”
One-goal losers to Rio Americano last year in a 16-15 thriller for the section championship, the Indians look to get their hands on the blue banner this Saturday against Sonora at Woodcreek High in Roseville at 11:30 a.m.