Submitted by Mark Collingham
The Coeur d’Alene/KROC Water Polo ‘A’ Club succeeded in defending its state high school championship in Boise last Saturday by beating Twin Falls by a final score of 15-5. The Coeur d’Alene team has won the Idaho State Championship each of the five years the team has been in existence. In the B division, the Coeur d’Alene B team also played it way into the championship game but lost in the final by a score of 12-10.
Each team played a total of 5 games in the tournament, with the first three games played for seeding in the championship rounds. In the first game on Friday, the CDA A squad outscored Boise by a score of 16-4. Danielle Chastain led all scorers in the game with 4 goals and 3 assists. Rylan Butera contributed heavily to the win with 3 goals, 2 assists and numerous steals. On Saturday morning, the CDA club played a close match with a strong Twin Falls team but pulled ahead late in the game to forge an 10-6 victory. Coeur d’alene also played Bishop Kelly in the morning and was able to win with a 9-4 final score.
In the championship rounds, CDA again played Boise but quickly overwhelmed the team with a final score of 16-6. CDA then moved on to play Twin Falls in the championship match on Saturday evening. Twin Falls scored an early goal but then CDA proceeded to score the next 7 goals with a variety of shots from Ryan Sorensson, Rylan Butera, Gabe Markowski and Danielle Chastain. Caleb Markowski and Jack Lyon also scored later in the game. Twin Falls was able to score a few goals later in the game but was not able to overcome the strong shooting of CDA or the excellent defensive effort led by goalie Josh Simmons. By the 4th quarter, the game had been put away and the Coeur d’Alene cruised to the finish with a final score of 15-5.
Several CDA players led the scoring for the tournament, with Ryan Sorensson having the most goals in the top bracket with 12. Rylan Butera and Danielle Chastain both scored 11 goals. A number of other players contributed to the scoring including Caiden Hartfield (9), Gabe Markowski (10), and Daniel Simmons (3). Other scorers included Caleb Markowski, Jack Lyon, Amelie Beresford-Wood and Ashley Schneider. Josh Simmons played goalie and provided excellent support with numerous saves throughout the tournament to help secure the wins and also scored a surprise goal from the length of the pool.
In the B division, the Coeur d’Alene squad played games against Bishop Kelly, Boise and Twin Lakes. In their opening match, CDA played a well matched game with Bishop Kelly but pulled out an 8-3 victory. On Saturday morning, the CDA-B played Boise B and ground out another closely fought win 8-5. The team then had a low scoring, defensive game against Twin Falls, finally pulling out a win with a score of 4-1. In the semi-final game, CDA was again matched against Bishop Kelly and CDA repeatedly scored on counter-attacks and raced to a final score of 17-3. The team then headed to the championship game in which the lead switched back and forth in a very closely fought struggle. The teams ultimately tied the score at 10-10 at the end of regulation time. The game then went into a 3 minute overtime period. After several attempts to score by each side, Twin Falls was able to put away a couple goals near the end of the overtime period and won by a final score of 13-11. First year goalie Levi Tullis had many saves throughout the tournament in an excellent first year performance. Scoring was led by Caleb Simmons with 15 goals in the tournament. Other leading scorers including Quinn McGovern (10) in a great first year effort, Levi Davidson (8), Ethan Halsted (6) and Cameron Paquette (6). Goals were also scored by Holland Memmer, Emma Park and Emma Griffitts.
Coaches Mark Collingham and Wyatt Surplus were impressed with both team’s performance. Coach Collingham noted that the team was relatively young, with 17 first year players. Seniors Ryan Butera, Ryan Sorensson, Danielle Chastain, Gabe Markowski and Amelie Beresford-Wood played a leading role throughout the games but are leaving the team in good hands. Collingham noted “Our younger players made huge improvements this season, by next year they will be contributing heavily to both the Varsity and JV teams. The team grew from 18 players last year to 33 this year and they expect to have an even stronger team next year. The club practices year round and is open to all high school students in the surrounding area.