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Trojans hold their own in Division I

By: Matt Long
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The first season in Division I went even better than expected for Oak Ridge High’s water polo program. The boys’ team got further in the playoffs than ever before, while the girls equaled their best in past years at the Division II level. Both coaches, Patrick Foster and Don McCormick, were happy with the seasons their teams had. After beating Lincoln of Stockton 14-3 in the first round of the playoffs, the varsity boys beat Turlock 8-7 with a goal from Bryan Bare with 1:15 remaining to send the team to the semifinals for the first time in school history, where they lost to eventual champion, Jesuit, 15-5. “Against Turlock, it was back and forth with strong play all game long,” Foster said. “We worked hard and pulled it out. For us to get to the semis in our first year in Division I is overwhelming. I’m just ecstatic to be one of the final four teams.” Oak Ridge fell behind Jesuit 11-2 at halftime but played a strong second half and was only outscored 4-3. “We knew Jesuit would be tough, but we made some adjustments and had a significant change in performance in the second half,” Foster said. “I was definitely impressed with how we played in the second half.” The Trojans have reason to be optimistic for next year. Seven seniors, including starters Riley McNamara and Shane O’Rourke, graduate but the team has several strong underclassmen ready to carry on the strong water polo tradition at Oak Ridge, according to Foster. The girls had a tough day in the quarterfinals against Lodi, losing 12-5. “We came out kind of flat and felt behind 3-0 early,” McCormick said. “We tried to claw our way back into it and never quit trying, but they were a little bit better than us on that day. We didn’t bring our ‘A’ game, but the score wasn’t indicative of how close it was.” McCormick was proud of his team’s first season in Division I. “I wish we could have won one more game, but I’m ecstatic with how we did,” McCormick said.