Plun­kett, Flames fir­ing past TCAL foes

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Mike Bush NEWS-SEN­TINEL SPORTS WRITER

Ac­com­plish­ments: Vic­tor Plun­kett set out a goal that has al­ready been ac­com­plished this sea­son.

The Lodi High boys wa­ter polo player, a ju­nior who has started since his fresh­man year, was suc­cess­ful in an­other goal against Tokay in their Tri-City Ath­letic League meet­ing at Tokay’s swim­ming pool on Oct. 3. Plun­kett scored 10 goals in the Flames’ 19-10 win over the Tigers.

“It felt good,” said Plun­kett of scor­ing the goals against Tokay. “We have seen Tokay around at tour­na­ments. We looked at it as a must-win game. We had to come out strong. Luck­ily for me and my team, we came out strong and put them away early. That was the goal of that game. The Lodi-Tokay ri­valry

brings a lit­tle bit more out of you.”

Plun­kett scored four goals in the first pe­riod of the game that wasn’t even close as the fi­nal score could in­di­cate. Lodi (4-2 in the TCAL, 13-5) led 10-3 at half­time and 16-5 af­ter three pe­ri­ods over Tokay, which has only won league game this sea­son.

In an­other TCAL game against Tracy, also at Tokay’s pool, on Oct. 1, Plun­kett had six goals. That helped Lodi post a 21-3 win over the Bull­dogs.

Plun­kett feels that this year’s Lodi squad is see­ing the net bet­ter than last sea­son.

“Last year, we found good shots but we just couldn’t finish; we couldn’t put into the back of the net,” Plun­kett said. “This year, we’ve been work­ing on fin­ish­ing. To this point, we have fin­ished bet­ter. The 6on-5, try­ing to put the ball in the back of the net, try­ing to find the right reads. Same thing with pres­sure pass­ing. You want to be­come a good pass­ing team; move the ball quickly so we can find the of­fen­sive op­por­tu­nity that we have.”

if Plun­kett had a choice of shoot­ing the ball, it would rather be at the cen­ter of the pool; shoot­ing right from the mid­dle in which the Flames do quite com­mon in their of­fense. But he’s been very pro­duc­tive shoot­ing from the out­side and past the 5-me­ter mark.

“That is a com­mon thing with what we do,” Plun­kett said. “We are con­stantly go­ing in, post­ing up and get­ting the shots. My strengths come from the hole-set. Wa­ter polo is a lot about swim­ming. I think hav­ing team­mates that can spread around, pass

with you, pass you the ball. It all helps to make scor­ing goals a lot eas­ier.”

Ac­cord­ing to Lodi coach Dan Christy, Plun­kett has had five games this sea­son that he’s scored 10 goals.

En­ter­ing this sea­son, Plun­kett wanted to score at least 100 goals. Af­ter Wed­nes­day’s game against Lin­coln in which Lodi beat the Tro­jans 14-12, he has 116.

“My goal this sea­son was to break 100,” Plun­kett said.

Prac­tices, at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, are dif­fer­ent for Plun­kett and the Flames. Dur­ing the dead pe­riod that started to­ward the end of July into midAu­gust, the Flames did lot of swim­ming in the school’s pool.

Now at this point in the sea­son, there’s still some laps swim. But Christy and the play­ers start putting their game plan to­gether their of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive schemes against their next op­po­nent.

“We work on pass­ing, shoot­ing,” Plun­kett said. “More swim sets. We get that knocked out early, then we work on the tech­ni­cal part of wa­ter polo at the end.”

Plun­kett was ready to go for this sea­son be­fore the start of the sea­son. That is be­cause he played on the Amer­i­can River Wa­ter Polo Club’s 16-and-un­der team, year-round. The club is based out of Sacra­mento.

“We go to tour­na­ments over the sum­mer,” Plun­kett said. “Af­ter the high school sea­son, I do take a two week break, and will get back into full-on con­di­tion­ing year-round un­til the high school sea­son goes back up again.”

MIKE BUSH/NEWS-SEN­TINEL

Lodi's Vic­tor Plun­kett (7) gets ready to shoot in a boys wa­ter polo game against Lin­coln at Tokay on Wed­nes­day.

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