TN challenges Half Moon Bay water polo team

Terra Nova varsity water polo player Sonya Guibadoulline takes a shot on goal during the Tigers’ home game against the Half Moon Bay Cougars.

Through rain, an ill-timed fire alarm and a broken scoreboard, the Terra Nova Tigers fought four tough games against Half Moon Bay School in 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.”

TN challenges Half Moon Bay water polo

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

The Tigers varsity girls team fell to the Cougars in a close 17-14 game. They were down 12-6 at the hal, 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. 

“Varsity did great,” said Potter. “Half Moon Bay is always tough for us. They always have a good team. I was really proud of the way they played. They played good, lock-down defense. We missed a bunch of shots that probably should have gone in, but overall it was a great game.” 

Kiana Meyer had some impressive blocks at goal and Sophie Byrne led the Tigers with seven goals. Serawit Ezra contributed two goals, Ava Mould scored four times, and Crystal Melton found the goal twice, scoring the Tigers only goal of the final quarter. 

TN player, Sophie Byrne,  takes a shot on goal

Terra Nova Varsity water polo player Sophie Byrne takes a shot on goal during their home game against the Half Moon Bay Cougars. Adam Pardee / Tribune

“(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 they can do that is because they swim.”

The junior varsity girls got off to a strong offensive start, going on to win, 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. 

“The junior varsity team communicated well,” said Potter. “They all have good shots. They have good, strong arms, so their job as a team is learning. You know, all these girls come to us having never played water polo, so they’ve come together well as a team. Good shots and good defense.”

“One challenge (with Terra Nova) is the rivalry,” said Tracy Hilvert, Half Moon Bay High School girls varsity and junior

varsity coach. “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 team, 17-11, and the varsity team, 14-8.

Sophie Byrne fights for possession

Terra Nova Varsity water polo player Sophie Byrne fights for possession of the ball during their home game against the Half Moon Bay Cougars. Adam Pardee / Tribune


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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