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Water Polo

Dos Pueblos Defense Shuts Down San Marcos for 10-2 Water Polo Victory

Kayla Peacock of Dos Pueblos keeps a close watch on Sarah Owens of San Marcos during the Chargers’ 10-2 Channel League win. Click to view larger
Kayla Peacock of Dos Pueblos keeps a close watch on Sarah Owens of San Marcos during the Chargers’ 10-2 Channel League win. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

The Dos Pueblos defense was locked in for Thursday’s Channel League girls water polo showdown at San Marcos.

The Chargers swarmed the Royals for a 10-2 victory in a battle between top-10 teams in Division 1 of the CIF-Southern Section.

“I told the girls how super proud I was about the job they’d done — super disciplined, organized and meticulous,” DP coach Connor Levoff said. “We’re taking finals right now, so to come here and really get laser-focused and execute as well as we did was very timely and appropriate.”

Levoff was impressed how his players were able keep their focus while dealing with finals week at school and scrambling to find places to train with the DP pool out of commission with a broken filter motor.

“I appreciate their maturity and I appreciate their hard work,” he said. “We’ve been out of our pool for two weeks, we’ve been bouncing around everywhere. So far, this group has managed to focus their energy and done well on defense.”

San Marcos coach Chuckie Roth applauded DP’s performance.

“They did a really good job. I thought they were more physical than us, they were faster than us, they shot the ball more than us. They deserved to win that game,” he said. “I just didn’t think we were as good as we needed to be defensively to be really close in that game.”

Ryann Neushul fires a shot while being pressured by Cassidy Miller of San Marcos. Neushul scored five goals for Dos Pueblos. Click to view larger
Ryann Neushul fires a shot while being pressured by Cassidy Miller of San Marcos. Neushul scored five goals for Dos Pueblos. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

After Cassidy Miller of the eighth-ranked Royals hit an outside shot to knot the score in the first period, they were shut out until the 4:13 mark of the third period.

Thea Neushul played a solid all-around game for the No. 2-ranked Chargers, scoring two goals, handing out three assists and making two steals.

“Best game of the year for Thea, for sure,” Levoff raved. “Probably the best game I’ve ever seen her play. She was our best quarterback today, great on defense one on one, and scored a couple of just patient, mature goals. Her maturity her was great.”

Olivia Kistler led the defense with three steals. Kayla Peacock, Chloe Pena, Sabina Shackelford, Abbi Hill, Kelly Meckelborg and goalie Anna Cable also played big roles in the smothering defensive effort.

Levoff said every player needed to be sharp on defense because San Marcos has so many weapons.

“They’re so hard to prepare for because, unlike most teams, there’s not one or two kids that can kill you. When I was making my scouting report, I listed every single player on their varsity roster, and that’s not normally something  you do. Everybody brings something to the table, everybody has a skill set that is dangerous.”

Ryann Neushul was DP’s offensive leader with five goals.

“Ryann Neushul is a very talented player,” Roth said. “She is very, very good. She touched the ball a heck of lot of times today. Between her and Abbi Hill, those are two talented players to match up with, and that’s not an easy task.”

Ryann Neushul scored off a pass from her cousin Thea Neushul on a power play to break the first-period tie. Peacock finished a pass from Kistler and Hill converted a penalty shot after Ryann Neushul was fouled on a breakaway for a 4-1 lead in the first period.

Kistler fed Shackelford for a power play goal and Ryann Neushul made it 6-1 in the second period.

It took a pair terrific saves by San Marcos goalie Sophie Trumbull to keep the score from getting out of control in the period. 

Trumbull made another big block early in the third period and Miller capitalized on a DP turnover. San Marcos then went on a power play with a chance to cut the lead in half.

“We had a great opportunity at the beginning of the third,” Roth said. “We scored a goal, then we drew an ejection, then we went rogue and shot a ball randomly and they countered and scored on us.’

DP came back with four straight goals, three by Ryann Neushul and one by Thea Neushul, to put the game away.

The win raises DP’s records to 12-1 overall and 3-0 in league. San Marcos fell to 5-5 and 3-1.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Thea Neushul of Dos Pueblos pressures San Marcos’ Piper Smith. Neushul led a strong defensive performance by the Chargers. Click to view larger
Thea Neushul of Dos Pueblos pressures San Marcos’ Piper Smith. Neushul led a strong defensive performance by the Chargers. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

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