Saturday, July 22, 2017 This Week's Paper

Curtis cruises over Rogers to stay in first

// Vikings eyeing state tournament

Alissa Noland, Katie Bateman and Sophia Spurlock scored three goals apiece as the Curtis water polo team displayed a variety of weapons and played stifling defense in cruising to a 14-3 win at Rogers on April 30.

“The girls definitely played with a lot of intensity,” said Curtis head coach Dennis Piccolotto, whose squad remained in first place in their division, at 9-0, despite having just one senior on the team. “The girls have been working really hard. Today I think you saw our team defense, we were pretty aware. We had an idea of what they were going to run.”

After quickly falling behind 1-0, Noland evened the score by grabbing a deflected shot off the post and slamming it in, and delivered a beautiful pass to the left less than two minutes later to Caralee Rendell, who scored for the 2-1 lead. The Vikings would never look back.

Spurlock and Bateman scored late in the first quarter, and Spurlock skipped a shot in early in the second for a commanding 5-1 lead. Joeli Reim and Hannah Holly added goals later in the period to give the Vikings a 7-2 lead at the half.

“We don’t have one or two girls that carry the weight of the team, we have different girls that step up each game,” Piccolotto said. “As a coach, you really can’t ask for anything but that. The girls are really unselfish. They love to give the ball to each other.”

Bateman twice outraced the defense for breakaway goals in the third quarter, and Noland scored by firing the ball through five defenders after the Rogers goalie was sent off for a penalty as the Vikings built an 11-2 lead. Curtis continued to wear down the Rams, as Katie VanRiper and Summer Rosengren sealed the victory with late goals in the fourth.

“I think we condition as much if not more than any other program,” Piccolotto said. “In the fourth quarter of the game or in overtime, we’re ready to go, we’re not tired…when we get into the fourth quarter, we still have gas left.”

The Vikings have an eye toward the postseason as they close out the regular season at home on May 10 against Stadium. After falling to top state contenders Enumclaw and Gig Harbor earlier this season, Piccolotto knows his team will have their work cut out for them, but also has confidence. “At the state tournament, I think it’s going to be anybody’s game. It’s just which team steps up and rises to the occasion.”