By DOMINIC RIOS
The Redlands East Valley Wildcats now have a 11-2 record after competing in their first tournament in Coronado. The Wildcats season opener was a 10-0 shutout against Santiago High School. The Wildcats continued the momentum as the first league game started against Yucaipa where they won 9-6. Not long after, they went head to head with La Serna who lost to REV in CIF semifinals last year. The game started out close as La Serna scored a goal to start the game with 4:48 left to play in the first. The Wildcats then retaliate with three goals to end the first quarter and take the lead 3-1. In the second quarter La Serna fought back by scoring two goals while the Wildcats remained at three. REV recovered in the third and scored two more goals to take the lead once again. In the fourth quarter the Wildcats put the game away by scoring one more goal in the first 30 seconds and neither team scored for the remainder of the game. The Wildcats had won 6-3 and now had a 3-0 streak. Then the wildcats beat Carter shortly after and then played RHS just after. REV scored 6 goals in the first quarter and kept the tempo going by scoring 5 more in the second. RHS not going down without a fight, scored two goals in the third. Then REV ended the game by scoring 3 in the 4th. Winning 14-2 and on a 5-0 streak the Wildcats prepared to play in their first tournament.
The wildcats started off strong in the REV opening game late Friday afternoon. REV won 13-2 against Fallbrook and later that night played Los Osos and won 15-11. The first game they had on Saturday was against Carlsbad, and if they won they would be in the top 4. The first quarter went back and forth between Carlsbad and ended 2-3 in Carlsbad favor. But REV was not done fighting and took the lead 4-3 with just less than 6 minutes to play in the second. Then the game continued to go back and forth for the remainder of the quarter and the game went into halftime 7-6 with REV ahead by 1. Carlsbad really wanted to be in the top 4 and took the lead again over the wildcats 7-8 early in the third. REV, eager to win scored 2 more goals. The last one was a buzzer beater which gave REV the advantage 9-8. Both teams fought to try and score in the fourth by neither team was successful so REV moved on to the semifinals with an 8-0 streak. Next up REV had to play Buchanan High School. Early in the game the wildcats took the lead and we're heading into the second half winning 3-2. Buchanan really wanted to move onto the finals and fought back in the second half. They stopped REV from scoring in the third quarter and took the lead 3-4 with one quarter left to play. REV came back with a goal to tie in the first minute but were worn out and let Buchanan score three goals. REV was unable to comeback with the time remaining in the game making it their first loss this season. Their record was 8-1 and the Wildcats still knew that they could take third place in the tournament. They were pumped and ready to take on Cathedral but things didn't go their way throughout the game and they had to fight to try and win. The Wildcats knew that Cathedral was from the San Diego section and won the CIF Open almost every year.
The game began and Cathedral won their sprint giving them the first chance to score. Being a team known to win the San Diego CIF Open almost every year, they were able to successfully score in the first 30 seconds. REV knew from that moment on it would be a tough game to win 3rd place, so when REV got their first chance to score they were able to do it and tied the game 1-1. Cathedral picking up their game dropped another 6 goals on the Wildcats in the first quarter forcing the Wildcats to truly have to work if they wanted to win this game. In the Second quarter Cathedral came out strong again and scored another two goals before the wildcats were able to come back. Cathedral up 9-1 with 3 minutes left in the second still gave the Wildcats plenty of time to come back. They fought back but Cathedral was still on top 11-3; however, anything can happen in this sport just like any other. The third quarter was nearing its end and Cathedral now had a bigger lead.
Leading 13-4 most people would say that the Wildcats had gotten beaten really badly but the players had something else to say. Late in the third they scored one goal to put them at the same point differential that they had at halftime only now the score was 13-5. Wildcats start the fourth quarter strong getting two goals in the first two minutes and only trailing 7-13. Then they scored another two goals within the next round two minutes and were losing 9-13. Cathedral realized the momentum was shifting to the Wildcats and so they used the clock and just tried to drain as much time as possible. Even while Cathedral burned down the clock REV scored one more goal with 1:10 left to play in the game. Everything was looking desperate for the Wildcats, and then the final 30 seconds of the game began and REV missed the shot, giving Cathedral the ball with 25 seconds left. REV, really wanting to make this a closer game pressed Cathedral and tried to steal the ball.
Finally with 5 seconds left the Wildcats forced a bad pass and gained possession of the ball. Chad Gornay shot the ball with three seconds left and so the Wildcats only lost the game 11-13. They may have lost because the time ran out, but they put up a fight that no one was expecting in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats fought through it all. In the final game REV had 16 ejections that gave Cathedral the advantage but Cathedral only scored 3 out of the 16 times meaning that they were making their man up goals about 19% of the time, and the wildcats were playing phenomenal defense when they were a man down. On the other hand REV’s offense played very well; 9 of their goals came from when it was an even 6 on 6. The Wildcats may now have an 8-2 record after the tournament, but they put it behind them as they moved on to games to come.
REV had three more games after their first tournament. They played Eisenhower first and won. They then played Cajon on Tuesday October 4th at Cajon and were looking for payback as they lost to Cajon the year before, which forced REV to take 3rd place in league. REV played well throughout the whole game and won 15-3. Although they may have played as rivals after the game the 21 players from both teams play for the Redlands Renegades Water Polo Club and acted like one family after the game. Finally the Wildcats played the Blackhawks at Citrus Valley on Thursday in which REV won 12-6 and are now 11-2 in the season. The wildcats have had a great first half of the season and are going to keep accelerating as the second half of the season begins and will try to win every game to come.