The Enumclaw High girls water polo team battled tough opponents and a sometimes-grueling schedule to capture eighth-place honors in the state tournament.
A dozen teams began their state experience May 28, playing at a trio of South Sound sites. Enumclaw played all its games at Curtis High in University place; other games were contested at Rogers and Lakes high schools.
Opening day began on a high note, as the Hornets quickly advanced to the final eight with a 13-9 victory over Bellevue.
Enumclaw’s winning effort was jump started by Bailey Sexton, who struck for two goals in the opening 76 seconds of the contest. Bellevue stayed close, but the Hornets’ Megan Lesmeister scored on a power play with a little more than a minute remaining to give EHS a three-goal advantage. Hayley Sonneson scored on a last-second shot to provide the final margin.
Lesmeister led the Hornet offense with six goals. Sexton added four, Sonneson had two and Grace Sales had one.
A second contest on May 28 saw EHS fall 24-5 to Gig Harbor, a perennial power and eventual state champion.
Gig Harbor scored just 11 seconds into the contest but Lesmeister answered 13 seconds later. The tired EHS squad couldn’t keep up with the deeper Tides and Gig Harbor scored 11 unanswered goals.
Lesmeister and Sexton finished with two goals each and Anna Davenport scored one.
With an opening-day split, the Hornets were seeded against Newport High on Friday and fell to the Knights 11-3. The loss forced the battered Hornets, for the second time in three days, to play two games within three hours. Taking on the Lakes Lancers, Enumclaw started with a 3-0 lead thanks to a pair of goals by Lesmeister and one by Hanna Simurdak. But the Lancers rallied, scoring twice late in the opening quarter, which ended with a 4-2 Hornet lead.
The defenses tightened in the second period with both teams going scoreless. The Lancers tied the game with 3:25 left in regulation, then scored twice in overtime for a 10-8 victory over the exhausted Enumclaw team.
Friday’s losses put Enumclaw into a Saturday battle for seventh or eighth place against league rival Auburn Mountainview. The Lions gave the Hornets their fourth loss of the tourney, 14-9.
The Hornets finish the season 14-10, claiming second place in the East Division.