By Paul Meadors, Sports Editor
Sarah Snyder had that killer look in her eye, and instantly there was no chance Clovis West was going to lose on Senior Night.
No way. No how. Not on this night.
“We did not work this hard and come this far to lose this game,” said Snyder to her teammates during a time-out just before the fourth quarter. “Right now is the time to pick yourselves up and to fight.”
And right on cue, down two goals, her Golden Eagles scratched and clawed their way back to tie the game 6-6 with 48 seconds left in the fourth quarter with a goal from Allyson Clague.
Enter overtime, and fittingly, Snyder provided the final blow, scoring the game-winning goal in the first overtime period, leading the Golden Eagles (23-6, 9-1) in an 8-7 comeback victory over Clovis High (25-5, 9-1) forcing a shared TRAC title with the Cougars on a chilly night at the Clovis Olympic Aquatic Center on November 4.
Clovis had previously beaten Clovis West in their two other match ups this season, one in TRAC play.
“I am so proud of my kids right now,” said Clovis West coach Scott Torosian. “But it feels like I’ve been dragged through a mud-hole because of the emotions of the game. But it’s a great feeling.”
And who can blame the energetic coach – the one constantly pacing the deck of the pool, living and dying with every play and every minute of the game.
Clovis jumped out to a 2-0 early, and after a Snyder goal to cut the lead to 2-1, Clovis closed the first period with a 3-1 advantage.
But Torosian’s troops never lost hope, even after being down 5-3 at halftime: “Just believe in yourselves. Tighten up the defense and believe.”
It’s easy to believe when Sarah Snyder is on your side: The All-American swimmer and four-year varsity starter with two D-1 Valley titles under her belt seized the opportunity, firing a laser past Clovis goalie Cassidy Crouch with 2:21 in the opening overtime.
But there’s no time to celebrate a goal in water polo, and Snyder, whose played with the best which includes Olympic Cadet training in Colorado Springs had a single thought: “I better get my butt back on defense.”
And sophomore sister Caitlyn gave the Golden Eagles breathing room with a goal in the second 3-minute overtime period for an 8-6 lead.
Torosian was quick to praise the play of junior Maddie Loggins (two goals), senior Meagan Garvey (clutch defense) and goalie Brii Wessels (seven saves) for stepping up their game and only allowing two goals after halftime.
But the night belonged to Sarah Snyder and her Eagle teammates, the senior with a personality that lights up the evening sky, the much-loved teammate who came through in the clutch for a TRAC title.
“It makes me so emotional,” said Snyder after the game, in between hugs from teammates and friends. “I love my teammates and I love my coach. I want nothing more than to win, not only for myself but for my teammates and my school. Nothing makes me more happy.”