The memorable season for the Amador Valley High girls' water polo team has continued in the postseason as the Dons knocked off Redwood 11-4 in the first round of the North Coast Section playoffs.
Amador finished East Bay Athletic League play with a perfect 7-0 mark, clinching the first EBAL title for the school in water polo. Their overall record helped them to the third seed in the Open Division playoffs and a No. 8 ranking nationally -- also a first for the school.
The Dons were led by senior captain Lauren Reilly, captain Gracie Quinn and junior captain Erin Brown. With 64 goals, 31 assists, 33 steals and 11 field blocks, Reilly's all-around play earned her EBAL's Player of the Year Award.
"I'm so excited about how far we've come this season," Reilly said. "We're friends in and out of the pool, and I think our chemistry reflects that when we play together."
The potent offense came from the combination of seniors Hannah Walder, Amy Heath and Emily Medinas and junior Evelyn McLaughlin -- Walder (41 goals/28 assists), Heath (40 goals/39 assists), Medinas (20 goals/19 assists) and McLaughlin (67 goals/14 assists).
McLaughlin (1st team), Walder (2nd team) and Heath (honorable mention) earned all-EBAL honors.
The Amador defense was stellar as well, allowing only an average of four goals a game.
Brown was sensational in the goal, allowing only 103 goals on 466 shots with 267 saves in 24 games. She also earned 1st team EBAL honors.
"This year has been one for the books, and I am incredibly proud to be a part of it," Brown said. "Every single person has worked so hard to be the best we can be, and it's definitely paid off."
Other great play on defense came from Kelly Coutinho (20 steals, 11 field blocks) and junior Kate Harris (21 steals, 14 blocks).
"I'm so proud of what the girls have accomplished this season," coach Tim Reilly said. "They're achieving the goals we set and doing it with unselfish play. The chemistry they have as a unit is special and when they get going, they're hard to stop. It's been a magical season for Amador. A lot of firsts for our water polo program and we're not done yet. We have a few more goals to reach."
NCS football pairings set
Ten of the 11 EBAL football teams have advanced into the NCS playoffs, which begin Friday night.
As expected, De La Salle gained the top seed in the Open/D-I brackets. The Spartans are joined by Clayton Valley (No. 3), Monte Vista (4), California (5) and Amador Valley (7) in the division.
In the D-II field the EBAL is represented by San Ramon Valley (1), Foothill (3), Dublin (5), Granada (7) and Livermore (8).
De La Salle will host James Logan (8) in the first round, Amador is at Pittsburg (2), Clayton Valley will host Antioch (6), and California is at Monte Vista. All games are on Friday and scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.
In the D-II tournament, San Ramon Valley will host Livermore, Dublin is at Campolindo (4), and Granada travels to Rancho Cotati (2) in 7 p.m. games on Friday night. Foothill will host San Leandro (6) on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
As usual, there is something wacky when it comes to the brackets. In any 8-team bracket, should the seeds play out, the semifinals would feature the 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3 matchups.
That holds true in the D-II playoffs, but in the Open/D-I brackets it is set up, should the seeds play out, top-seeded De La Salle would play No. 2 Pittsburg in the semifinals, with No. 3 Clayton Valley facing No. 4 Monte Vista in the semis.
Every year teams want to avoid De La Salle until the finals in NCS and it appeared Pittsburg and Amador Valley did just that with the No. 2 and No. 7 seeds, respectively.
Then again this is NCS. As is usually the case, NCS will offer some reason as to why this is happening, but there is no good reason. If you are going to blow up the seedings, why seed the teams at all?
Teams fight hard to get their seeds, but when the seed is meaningless, it is perplexing.
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his Pleasanton Preps column, email [email protected]