Ripon Aquatics is sending two more of its teams to the USA Water Polo National Junior Olympics.
The 16-under and 18-under girls squads earned their spots this past weekend in Merced where they competed in the Central California Zone JO Qualification Tournament.
“I am very proud of each and every player this weekend,” Ripon coach Erik Zador said. “They played with grit and lots of heart. I am amazed to see how these girls grow every game and can’t wait to see them play at Junior Olympics.”
The 16-under contingent overcame the sweltering heat and a chlorine imbalance that affected several players who had their eyes nearly swollen shut.
Ripon went 3-3 to place 11th out of 16 teams and was anchored by goalie Tiffani Hunter and Reyna Biedermann, an incoming Colony Oak School eighth grader competing with and against mostly high school-aged players.
Hunter was in the cage for every match, amassing 58 goals while contributing eight assists to the attack.
Biedermann scored a team-high 25 goals to go with four assists. She fired five goals in three different games and had seven in a 10-5 win over American River ‘C.’
Ripon was defeated 7-3 by Cal Republic of Sacramento in the opener last Friday. The team had a busy Saturday, coming up with a 9-6 victory over Praetorian and the win over American River ‘C.’ Those matches sandwiched a 10-3 loss to Big Valley.
The tourney ended with two competitive contests for Ripon, which came up short 12-8 against Sac and rebounded to edge American River ‘B,’ 8-7.
Other scoring contributors for Ripon throughout the tournament: Kennadi Winter (four goals, two assists), Crystallynn Tran (seven goals, two assists), Lauren Ellis (assist), Amy Fadeff (goal, assist), Sami Scheid (goal, assist), Giana Ramos (two goals, five assists), Keira Brink (two assists), Faith Fasani (assist), Lauren Ellis (goal, four assists) and Maddie Curtiss (assist).
Ripon placed 12th for its spot in the Junior Olympics.
The team’s lone win out of five matches came against American River ‘B,’ 9-8.
Mia Sickler-Lopez was Ripon’s leading scorer, Kennedy Brubaker had the most assists and Taylor Blair paced them in steals. Goalies Delaney Brubaker and Marisa Rush recorded 12 and eight blocks, respectively.