Pen­nridge, Soud­er­ton split

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - ELECTION 2012 - By An­drew Marcus

Jake Gor­don had no idea he would be deep in 12 feet of wa­ter and deeper in the hunt for an Eastern Con­fer­ence Wa­ter Polo ti­tle two months ago. The se­nior, now goalie for the Pen­nridge wa­ter polo team, never even picked up a polo ball be­fore pre-sea­son prac­tices started.

“I have never been goalie in any sport,” Gor­don said. “I have been play­ing for seven weeks and it is a lot harder than I thought it was. It is a lot of fun.”

Now Gor­don is split­ting time with Kevin McDon­ald be­tween the pipes and help- ing his squad reach heights the pro­gram never reached be­fore. On Tues­day the Rams knocked off Soud­er­ton for the sec­ond time this sea­son. The 12-11 win was just what they needed head­ing into Satur­day’s Eastern Con­fer­ence Cham­pi­onships.

“At the end of the sec­ond quar­ter I was think­ing we were go­ing to cruise,” Gor­don said. “We have been in close games be­fore and I am get­ting used to it. I never even heard of Pen­nridge wa­ter polo be­fore I started play­ing and now we have a chance to go to states.”

Af­ter a 3-0 start to the game for the Rams, the In­di­ans de­cided to start swim­ming to­ward a come­back. Fac­ing a deficit as big as five goals the In­di­ans used a 4-0 third quar­ter to once again make the ac­tion any­one’s game.

“We are a bet­ter deep team and we gave up a lot of shal­low end goals,” In­di­ans’ coach Chris Hem­merle said. “We never prac­tice in a shal­low pool and Satur­day will be in our pool. We did not show any­thing new to­day. We will show them some­thing new at the Eastern Cham­pi­onships.”

Lead­ing the come­back was Soud­er­ton’s se­nior Holden Kudla. The whole­set tal­lied four goals and Kevin Cal­la­han’s goal in the fourth quar­ter knot­ted the

score at 9-9. Matt Evers tal­lied three goals in the loss.

“We came back and started play­ing our game at the end,” Kudla said. “We have out­side shoot­ers on our team. We were drop­ping it in, work­ing it around and shoot­ing out­side if it was there. We have had a lot of close games that we have lost, but Satur­day is all that mat­ters.”

Ev­ery time the In­di­ans had a pos­ses­sion to take the lead, which they never did hold in the game, there was a Ram to make a steal. Se­nior Josh Ap­ple scored to make the score 10-9 and sealed it with his fourth goal of the night with 28 sec­onds re­main­ing.

“Josh is the one who con­vinced me to play,” Gor­don said. “Josh con­trols the game out there and I do not know where we would be with­out him.”

The Soud­er­ton girls’ wa­ter polo team had sim­i­lar third quar­ter to the In­di­ans, but they were not play­ing catchup. They held a 3-2 lead at half­time. Though the In­di­ans strug­gled to fig­ure out the Rams’ goalie Julie Nadovich in the early go­ing, a 3-0 ad­van­tage in the third quar­ter helped them pull away with a 12-4 win.

“We were not cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the counter at­tack,” Hem­merle said. “We were in bet­ter po­si­tion and get­ting open in the sec­ond half. It is great hav­ing lead­ers like Lau­re­ana and Browyn. They can just take the game over.”

Nadovich made 13 saves for the Rams and Chelsea Weiss scored twice, but in the sec­ond half the In­di­ans’ shots started fall­ing and game be­came out of reach on their Se­nior Night. Lau­re­ana Zrada and Browyn Smith each scored three times and even­tu­ally the In­di­ans had seven dif­fer­ent goal scor­ers, show­ing they are ready for the Eastern Con­fer­ence Cham­pi­onships on Satur­day.

For Mont­gomery Me­dia / SU­SAN KEEN

Pen­nridge’s Con­nor Longo looks for an open­ing dur­ing Tues­day night’s ac­tion against Soud­er­ton.

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