PCHS girls’ water polo wins state
May 22, 2015
Through three quarters of play in the girls’ water polo 3A state championship game in Cedar City, Park City High School and Cedar were tied at 5.
The Miners had lost to Cedar 10-8 earlier in the tournament and were hungry for redemption. When the fourth quarter started, freshman Blaire McDowell took over, scoring four-straight goals, with her sister, Alandra, adding another to propel Park City to a big 10-5 victory.
Assistant Coach Jeff Whipple said Cedar was trying to hold Blaire back, but there’s only so long any team can hope to do that.
"They’re a much bigger, more physical team than what we are," he said. "What they were trying to do was take Blaire out of the game because she’s an absolutely phenomenal player. We ran plays for everybody else, but, in the fourth quarter, the defense was spread and she just ran the plays we’d been practicing and got one-on-one shots and converted."
But, Whipple said, Blaire is even better offensively because of what her sister does on the back end for the Miners.
"Blaire gets all the hype because she scores the goals and is an outstanding offensive player, but we couldn’t do what we do without Alandra," he said. "She absolutely shuts down their center position. We can take those defensive chances to try to create more offense because of her."
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The Park City boys’ water polo team also made it to the state finals, but had a different result than the girls. Though the Miners battled hard, they couldn’t overcome a powerful Canyon View squad, losing 8-6 to finish second in 3A.
"We just missed shots we should have made," Whipple said. "We probably out-shot them by about twice as many shots."
With only three seniors on this year’s boys’ team, and many of the key girls coming back, the Miners expect to be a powerful team next year and beyond.
"I think we’ll be one of the top three or four teams in the state," Whipple said. "We have two girls and one boy that will play all summer in California. I would say, in 3A, we should definitely be the favorites."
Park City’s boys’ and girls’ swim teams both won 3A titles this year, too, so Whipple said it’s been a good year for the town’s water athletes.
"It’s pretty incredible the quality of athletes that we have here," he said. "We have a lot of swimmers and even a couple non-swimmers who were big contributors on the boys’ side."
Blaire and Alandra McDowell tied for the Most Valuable Player award at the state tournament. They also both earned First-Team All-State honors. Alexa Spink was named to the Second-Team All-State team.
Matt Whipple and Jack Loyens were selected for the boys’ First-Team All-State team. Joe Simmons and Dennis Djunic earned Second-Team All-State honors and Maclane Vipond earned Third-Team All-State honors.
Jeff Whipple said it’s been a great season and he hopes the next years go just as well for Park City.
"It’s an awesome group of kids that love the sport and are working hard to get better," he said. "It’s a fun group to coach."
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