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Vaqueros win three on Opening Day

Sophomore Sarah Parson scored a career-high six goals in two different games on Saturday and had 16 in three games as the Vaqueros piled up 47 goals. (Photo by Annie Bower)
Sophomore Sarah Parson scored a career-high six goals in two different games on Saturday and had 16 in three games as the Vaqueros piled up 47 goals. (Photo by Annie Bower)

SBCC posted three wins on the Opening Day of the 2018 women's water polo season. The defending state champions knocked off Merced 17-7, West Valley 13-7 and Cerritos 17-4 on Saturday in the Central Coast Invitational at Morro Bay High.

The Vaqueros return six of seven starters from last year's 31-3 state championship team, including State Tourney MVP Emma Fraser (86 goals), Sarah Parson (50 goals) and Meagan Mckillican (46 goals).

SBCC 17, Merced 7: Sarah Parson, a sophomore center from Arroyo Grande, poured in a career-high six goals and Lily Riley had five assists in the season opener. Kemi Dijkstra added three goals and goalie Nicole Poulos played the first half in goal, making seven saves to earn the victory. The Vaqueros led 7-5 at halftime, then dominated the second half 10-2.

SBCC 13, West Valley 7: The Vaqueros broke open a 2-2 game with a 9-1 advantage in the middle two quarters that gave them an 11-3 lead. Sarah Parson and Emma Fraser had four goals apiece and Parson drew three ejections. Melissa Walk started in goal and gave up just two goals in the first half as SBCC built a 6-2 lead.

SBCC 17, Cerritos 4: Parson scored a half-dozen goals again, giving her 16 for the day. The Vaqueros won the second quarter 6-0 and led 10-2 at the half. Meagan Mckillican, Kelee Shimizu and Hana Wigzell added two goals each. The Vaqueros made 14 steals and hit 63.6% of their shots (17-27) to win their 15th straight game.

"I was very happy with our first outing of the season," said fifth-year coach Chuckie Roth, whose team is 64-5 the last two years with a State title and a runner-up finish. "Our team has improved in many ways from last season. I compliment the players dedication to swimming and off-season training.

"Nicole Poulos and Melisa Walk were solid in the cage. On offense, we had a solid team effort. We have a lot to work on this week to be ready for Delta and Riverside, who were both top-4 teams last year."

The Vaqueros will play in the Riverside Tournament on Friday and Saturday. They'll play San Joaquin Delta in a rematch of last year's State semifinal and Long Beach on Friday. On Saturday, they'll take on their nemesis Riverside at 7:45 a.m. and then play Cerritos at 12:05 p.m.