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