MODESTO — Following two tough losses to large-school opponents, Ripon High’s boy’ water polo team bounced back and won all three of its contests Saturday in the 23rd Annual DeLong Memorial Tournament.
The Indians — who placed fifth last year — were dropped to the 17th-24th-place pool at Downey High after a 10-9 overtime setback to Turlock backed by another 10-9 defeat by tourney co-host Downey on Friday. Kole Gonzales accumulated nine goals for the day, six coming against Turlock.
Ripon took it out on its first two opponents Saturday, and Gonzales added 10 more goals to his two-day total. Goalie Darnay Mack amassed 32 saves in the two days combined.
The first victim was Buhach Colony of Atwater, which was thumped 12-3. Ripon led 8-2 after three quarters. Noah Esenwein (three assists) and Ty Wells (two steals) paced the Indians with three goals apiece. Daniel Esenwein (four sprints won), Nick Gagnon and Gonzales (three assists, two steals) each added two.
The Indians then dominated Valley Oak League rival Sonora, 12-4. It was close for a half before Ripon outscored the Wildcats 6-0 over the final two periods. Gonzales poured in four of his goals to go with three assists and three steals. Daniel Moreno, Daniel Esenwein (four sprints won), Wells (four steals) and Gagnon added two goals each. Mack blocked eight shots.
Ripon held off Merced’s El Capitan 8-6 with substitutes getting most of the playing time in the second half. The Indians were ahead 8-4 at halftime. Gonzales accounted for half of Ripon’s goals, Wells had three, and Noah Esenwein chipped in one go go with four steals, three assists and four sprints won.