Cougars defeats Rio Americano, heading to NorCal Championships

Clovis High’s Kaitlyn Osborne attempts a goal during a game against Rio Americano on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. (Ryan Kish/Clovis Roundup)

Clovis High Girls Water Polo is now one win away from the state championship following their 13-9 win over Rio Americano (Sacramento, Calif.) on Thursday night. The Cougars will now play top-seeded Soquel High School in the NorCal Championship game on Saturday with a spot in the state finals on the line.

Sanci Sonkoly scored five goals for Clovis High (2) and junior Libby Alexander added another four goals.

“It was a good game all the way to the end and it was a fun ‘end of the season’ kind of game,” said Clovis High head coach Noah Minton. “The girls are in good spirits,” he added.

Clovis High gave up the first goal of the match but quickly rebounded to take the lead in the first quarter. The Cougars never relinquished the lead outside of the first goal that Rio Americano managed to get passed Cougars’ goalkeeper Izzy Knittle. Knittle made 11 saves on the night — including three in the final quarter that gave Taylor Anderson and Lilianna Villanueva the window to add fourth-quarter goals that helped ice the game.

Maddie Murad also scored one goal during the match — it came in the second quarter.

“Our girls are fighters, fast, really pushed the counter-attack, and never gave up fighting and they put more goals in at the end of the game so they did a good job,” Minton said.

The Cougars have just one practice to prepare to play Soquel (San Jose, Calif.) for the NorCal Regional Championship. The focus in that practice session will largely be about fine-tuning the small things that went wrong against Rio Americano, according to Minton. “Some of the things we really struggled with in this game and that they [the team] was frustrated with, we’ll address those things,” he said.

Soquel (1) defeated Clovis West 13-10 on Thursday night to book their ticket to the NorCal Championship game and also to prevent a rematch of the CIF Central Section championship between Clovis High and Clovis West.

Gianna Nocetti was the top scorer for Rio Americano (6) with four goals and Hailey Phillips added two additional goals for the visiting Raiders.

Ryan Kish
Ryan graduated from Buchanan High School in 2018 and is currently a student at Clovis Community College and plans to transfer to a four-year school to complete a degree in journalism or political science. Ryan was born in Pennsylvania, has lived in four states, and thinks the Yankees need to be more creative with the design of their batting practice hats.