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June 28, 2022

Balers show mercy on Padres

Janelle Brandon’s eighth goal of the day against Carmel was a
Janelle Brandon’s eighth goal of the day was a mistake. Hollister High girls water polo coach Derek Kisling, who trying to call of the dogs, was shouting at Brandon to dump it with five seconds left on the shot clock. But, Brandon was on the other end of the pool and couldn’t hear Kisling.

Oh, well. Brandon’s tally with not much time left in Thursday’s 21-3 of a beleaguered Carmel team at the Baler Splash Center didn’t make a difference. And with sophomore Erika Rodrigues, one of the best all-around players on the team, out for the year due to health reasons, Kisling will look to call on Brandon to find the net more than usual.

“Other girls are going to have to step up,” said Kisling. “We’ve stressed on not being a one-dimensional team and depend on one player. The girls know it and we’ve been working on it.”

The Balers are 6-0 in the Tri-County Athletic League and 17-9 overall. The Balers’ victory helped them keep pace with undefeated Live Oak. Hollister hosts the Acorns next Thursday in the final regular season match before the TCAL tournament Nov. 7 and 9. The homecoming game is important, though the Balers won the league title last year by winning the tournament, due to a point system within the league.

The Padres (3-7, 2-4) could be excused for the wide margin loss because three starters were out due to homecoming activities.

“This game was rescheduled a couple of days ago,” said Padres coach Corey Stainbrook. “The outcome might have been a little better if we had those players, but I don’t think it would have made that much of a difference.”

Stainbrook brought up junior varsity goalie Cristy Eldridge to the cage and Eldridge made six saves. She didn’t have much help as the Padres’ defensive transition left a lot to be desired and the Balers took full advantage.

Brandon found a wide open Britta Nordstrom four meters in front of the Padres’ net and Nordstrom put home the first of her three goals for 1-0 just 23 seconds into the match. The Balers, who never let the Padres get into any rhythm on offense, had a 5-1 lead after the first period.

Megan Willhoft fed Brandon to start the second period for 6-1 and the rout was on.

Nearly every Baler scored including Amanda Rodriguez, who was recently called up to replace Rodrigues. Stacey Lass, Amy Abbass, Jenna DeCoit and Willhoft each had two goals.

After the match, Kisling was asked to compare last year’s Monterey Bay League title team to this year’s, which is on the precipice of the inaugural TCAL championship.

“This is a different team than last year,” said Kisling. “We had the two strongest two-meter players in the league with Lacey Sutton and Jesse Hernandez. Not only were they strong offensively, they could draw a lot of ejections and we’d score off that. We don’t have that this year, so I demand a lot more motion out of my players. Our girls showed discipline today. We’ve had some sloppy passing in tournaments and we’ve been working on eliminating those.”

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