LATHROP — We all learn by taking baby steps — or in the case of the Lathrop High water polo team, baby strokes.
The Spartans played their inaugural matches Tuesday against Ceres and the longstanding experience of the visiting Bulldogs was quite evident in a 28-1 win for the Ceres girls and a 27-1 win for the boys in Western Athletic Conference action.
“I think their girls played well,” Bulldogs coach Stephen Dias said. “They are a rookie program and they are learning. My girls were able to set up and practice some of their stuff and being nice about it, just playing the game.
“They have some good players on their team with some good potential.”
Delaney Vega made history for Lathrop (0-1 WAC, 0-1 overall) when she scored the first goal in the history of the program with 19 seconds left in the third period on a 5-meter penalty throw.
“I am really excited,” Vega said. “This is our first team and it was our first game and I think everyone did a really good job.
“We are going to keep practicing and trying our best to do better.”
Spartans coach Brian Keeney knows it will be a long journey.
“Nobody on either one of our teams has ever played water polo,” Keeney said. “And I only have two swimmers on the boys team so this is kind of what I expected to happen. We already talked about it and they are not in a bad mood so that’s a good thing.
“I told them that I didn’t care if we lost, and we are going to lose a lot, but we are going to work and get better. They are having a good time and they scored a goal – both the boys and the girls – and that is what starting something new is all about. We will see what happens in five to 10 years.”
Christian Buerster got the Lathrop boys (0-1, 0-1) on the board with 2:51 left in the third period when he took a pass from Connor Giovannoni and wedged a bullet between the Ceres goalie and the upright.
“Scoring that goal was great,” Buerster said. “Got an assist from my boy Connor (Giovannoni). I was wide open when he got me the ball and I had to take it.”