Troy's girls water polo team defeated Sunny Hills in the Freeway League on Wednesday night at Fullerton.

Troy's counterattack sinks Sunny Hills in league opener


The lure and reward of the counterattack in water polo are the shots it yields.

If teams commit to strong defense and fast-break swimming, they can end up with high-percentage shots in front of the opponent’s cage.

Troy’s girls water polo team committed to a tight press and plenty of swimming Wednesday night, and followed an efficient counterattack to a 15-2 victory against Sunny Hills in the Freeway League’s opening showcase at Fullerton.

The Warriors (5-4, 1-0) opened defense of their league crown by making six of seven shots, four of which came on counterattacks, in the first period.

Troy led, 6-0, after the first seven minutes and cruised to its 43rd consecutive league victory.

“We countered well,” said Troy coach Jason Wilson, whose school has claimed four consecutive undefeated league titles. “Our defense kind of led to it, so that part was good.”

Troy’s duo of Claire Schade and Shelby Maldonado each scored twice on the counterattack in the first period.

Maldonado finished with five goals and added six steals, and the left-handed Schade collected four assists.

Troy’s Ava Mattis scored twice from center in the second period and finished with four goals.

Goalie Makayla Parks started a few Troy counterattacks with her defense and finished with 12 saves. Troy held sharp-shooter Kendall Smith to one goal.

Troy, a contender in CIF-Ss Division 3, shut out the Lancers (10-4, 0-1) in the second half and on the power play (0 for 4).

Paulina Luna snapped Troy’s shutout bid with a near-side strike with 2:56 left in the first half to make it 7-1.

“It’s good to start league on a high note,” Wilson said. “La Habra is probably the next biggest challenge.”

In other Freeway League games:

La Habra 15, Sonora 1: Natasha Velez scored five goals and Maddi Garcia had 12 saves and two assists to lead the Highlanders (1-0 in league).

Fullerton 10, Buena Park 8: Kaya Ortega scored three goals, including one in the fourth period to give the Indians (1-0 in league) a 10-7 lead. Hannah Officer made 11 saves for Fullerton.

In the Sunset League:

No. 10 Los Alamitos 8, Edison 2: Calysa Toledo scored three goals at Newport Harbor to lead six Griffins (8-6, 1-0) in scoring.

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