Half Moon Bay Varsity water polo player Jess Palmer-Sammons

Half Moon Bay Varsity water polo player Jess Palmer-Sammons makes a goal during their away game against the Terra Nova Tigers. Adam Pardee / Review

Through rain, an ill-timed fire alarm and a broken scoreboard, the Half Moon Bay Cougars fought through four tough games against Terra Nova High School during Monday night’s quad water polo meet at Terra Nova High School.

“It’s always great to play Half Moon Bay,” said Don Potter, head coach of the Terra Nova junior varsity and varsity girls teams. “That’s our coastal rival, so it’s always fun to play them.”

Half Moon Bay Varsity water polo player Maya Boysen

Half Moon Bay Varsity water polo player Maya Boysen fights for possession of the ball during their away game against the Terra Nova Tigers. Adam Pardee / Review

The Cougars varsity girls beat the Tigers in a close 17-14 match.

“On varsity they were passing and looking at each other and they were driving without the ball, which we’ve been working on,” said Tracy Hilvert, Half Moon Bay High School junior varsity and varsity girls coach.

Half Moon Bay was up 12-6 at the half, but Terra Nova chipped away at Half Moon Bay’s lead in the third quarter, pulling within two goals going into the final minutes of the game.

“(Half Moon Bay) swims fast,” said Potter. “They just drive, drive, drive. My girls, no one wants to swim. Everybody just wants to play water polo. I told them the reason why (the Cougars) can do that is because they swim.”

Half Moon Bay Varsity water polo players celebrate

Half Moon Bay Varsity water polo players celebrate a goal during their away game against the Terra Nova Tigers. Adam Pardee / Review

Jess Palmer-Sammons led the Cougars with five goals. Kaylani Guevara and Ashley Owens both contributed four and Sydney McGuirk scored twice. Callie Hoffman and Cammie Tholke both scored once.

“We are a swimming team and they hate it, but I make them do it and it pays off most of the time,” said Hilvert.

Half Moon Bay Varsity water polo player Kaylani Guevara

Half Moon Bay Varsity water polo player Kaylani Guevara makes a goal during their away game against the Terra Nova Tigers. Adam Pardee / Review

 

The junior varsity girls got off to a slow offensive start and were unable to recover, falling to Terra Nova, 13-7. The Tigers were up 4-0 with just under a minute to go in the first quarter, when Half Moon Bay responded with a shot in the last seven seconds of the first period. The Cougars came out strong offensively in the second quarter, scoring the first two goals, but the Tigers regained their footing and maintained the lead.

That set the tone for the junior varsity girls game. Half Moon Bay inched closer to Terra Nova, even coming within one goal in the final quarter, but were unable to take the lead.

“One challenge (with Terra Nova) is the rivalry,” said Hilvert.“It gets in my kids' head and they get a little chippy, so I have to keep them calm. The biggest challenge is that they are always strong on the defensive. On both (junior varsity and varsity), their defense, they kill us.”

The Tigers also finished the night defeating both the Cougars junior varsity and varsity boys teams. Terra Nova beat the junior varsity boys, 17-11, and the varsity team, 14-8.

Half Moon Bay Varsity boys water polo

Half Moon Bay Varsity boys water polo lost to the Terra Nova Tigers 14-8 during their away game in Pacifica. Adam Pardee / Review

Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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