If anyone is to challenge the Arroyo Grande girls water polo team's PAC 8 League superiority, the Eagles' defense will likely have to have more cracks than it showed Tuesday.
Arroyo Grande and Righetti have finished 1-2 in the PAC 8 the past several years, and the Eagles' defenders walled off most everything the Warriors tried Tuesday. Arroyo Grande eased to a 10-3 win at Righetti in the PAC 8 League season opener for both teams.
The Eagles are 2-0, 1-0. The Warriors are 4-2, 0-1. Righetti went 4-1 in the Newbury Park tourney over the weekend.
"We figured the focus would need to be on defense with this group," said veteran Arroyo Grande coach Steven Allen.
Inti Litto helped lead a Righetti defense that was pretty good itself for the most part, and the first goal did not come until Arroyo Grande's Sarah Kasper took a good pass from Caitie Sandberg and scored at the 4:39 mark of the first quarter.
Madeline Ordonez drew Righetti within 2-1 when she tossed in a long lob shot with 7.81 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Eagles gradually pulled away in the second. Sam Vitt finished a 4-0 Arroyo Grande scoring run in the second quarter with two quick goals, and Vitt and Sara Stipanov led an effectively pressing Arroyo Grande defense in the first half. The Eagles led 6-2 at halftime.
Arroyo Grande defender Sam Hazel effectively jumped Righetti's passing routes in the third quarter, and the Warriors never could get back into contention.
"We know our defense needs to be the focal point of our team," said Stipanov, a junior set player who is in her first year on the Arroyo Grande varsity.
"In practice we constantly work on our defense. Communication is the key thing. I thought our communication was good today."
The Eagles blanked the Warriors 3-0 in the third quarter. Litto finally scored for Righetti at the 6:35 mark of the fourth.
The Warriors were adept at drawing ejections against the Eagles. They just weren't adept at scoring on power plays. Hailey Wilson scored for Righetti on one power play. The Warriors came up empty on their other eight.
"We had good ideas on the plays. We just couldn't execute on them," said Righetti coach Roxanne Leasure.
"We definitely need a little more work on our speed. We moved the ball around well, but we need to work on our overall speed."
Again, Righetti goal keeper Sophia Reyes came far out of the cage a lot. She made several steals, but Kasper, Vitt, Sandberg and Hazel all scored two goals.
"I thought we were well-prepared (for Reyes venturing far out of the box)," said Allen.
"They have a good goalie. She causes a lot of havoc."
Arroyo Grande will play Oaks Christian at 3 p.m. Thursday at Fullerton Troy High School in the first round of the Villa Park Tournament. Righetti will play a league game at 4 p.m. next Tuesday at Atascadero.
Pioneer Valley 56, St. Bonaventure 50
The Panthers moved their record to 3-2 with a non-league win at home.
The Bonnies led 31-25 at halftime, but the Panthers out-scored them 18-10 in the third quarter.
Jaden Jones led Pioneer Valley with 18 points. Taylor Burns added 10.
Kai Rojas scored a game-high 21 points for St. Bonaventure. Mikey Hinkle put in 12.
Santa Clarita Christian Tip Off Classic
Orcutt Academy opened its season by going 2-1 in this tournament.
The Spartans edged Santa Clarita Valley International 61-59 Friday afternoon, lost 64-43 to Providence that evening and the beat Villanova Prep 65-56 for third place.
Marc Pyle amassed a total of 55 points and 26 rebounds, including 29 and 10 respectively against SCVI, for the Spartans in the tournament. Colin Otremba scored 23 points against Villanova Prep and racked up a total of 41 in the tournament.
Noah Richards made the winning layup and had eight steals against SCVI. OA coach Ryan Smalley said Richards played solid defense in the tournament.
Orcutt Academy 63, Laguna Blanca 54
Marc Pyle put in 22 points and Dane Weeks scored 17 as the Spartans (3-1) beat the Owls in a non-league game at Laguna Blanca.
Morro Bay 0, Pioneer Valley 0
The Pirates and the Panthers (0-4-1) played to a scoreless draw in a non-league game at Pioneer Valley.
"Sasha Brafman aind Ivanna Gonzalez both played really well for us on offense," said Pioneer Valley coach Gabe Velasco. "They had shots that hit the post."
Pioneer Valley goalkeeper Sara Rodrigues made four saves.