Enumclaw girls water polo eyes another state finish

Following up on back-to-back fifth-place state finishes and league titles will be a challenge for the Enumclaw High girls water polo team, but with a strong core of experienced, returning athletes it remains a strong possibility.

Lindsay Bowden is back in the water for the Hornets’ water polo team.

Following up on back-to-back fifth-place state finishes and league titles will be a challenge for the Enumclaw High girls water polo team, but with a strong core of experienced, returning athletes it remains a strong possibility.

“We’re excited to have such an experienced team,” said Bob Averill, who along with Ken DeMan has been coaching the Hornet program for years. “Ten of our kids have two years of experience or more, and three played on Junior Olympic teams last summer in California. Our new kids are making great progress, too.”

The Hornets finished the 2008 regular season 14-2, 15-4 overall, with another league title.

Lost to graduation were all-state honorable mention Tia Thomasson, all-league recipient Joni Johnson, Emily Moore, Cescelli Thomas and Rachel Moen.

Returners include seven seniors – Angie and Kelsey Brazier, Brooke Flaquinti, Amber Morris and captains Tianna Hogan, Kaitlyn Korsch and Liz Schmidt. Also returning are juniors Lindsay Bowden, Rachael Deonigi, Breanna Flaquinti, Shaye Hogerhuis and Rose Johnson, and sophomores Ali Ballard, Alexis Firlotte, and Erin Stucker.

New members of the team include senior Kate Collison, sophomores Kelsey Sonneson and Alina Van Ruff and freshmen Annie Birklid and Cassi Cook.

Hogan was a second-team all-league pick. Morris and Bowden were all-league honorable mentions and Hogerhuis provides a veteran presence in goal for the Hornets.

This season, the South Sound Girls Water Polo League will look a little different with Lakes and Mark Morris high schools joining the fray. As a result, the league has been restructured into three divisions. The Bridge Division includes the five Tacoma schools – Wilson, Stadium, Foss, Mount Tahoma and Lincoln – and the two Gig Harbor schools, Peninsula and Gig Harbor. The West Division includes the three Puyallup schools – Puyallup, Rogers and Emerald Ridge – along with Curtis, Lakes and Mark Morris. The East Division includes the three Auburn schools – Auburn, Auburn Mountainview and Auburn Riverside – the two Sumner schools, Sumner and Bonney Lake, and Enumclaw.

The regular season will include 10 league games and 10 non-league contests.

The top two teams from each division will qualify for the state tournament and the third-place teams from each division will play a qualifying tournament to determine the seventh and eighth seeds for state.

The Hornets start the season at 3:15 p.m. today, Wednesday, with Sumner as the first in a three-game homestand at the Enumclaw Aquatic Center. Enumclaw plays host to Auburn Riverside at 4:30 p.m. Friday and Auburn at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierherald.com or 360-802-8206.

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