Lodi’s boys and girls advance in NorCal water polo playoffs

Lodi's Morgan Vice (7) takes a shot past Ripon goalkeeper Delaney Brubaker (1) during Lodi's 8-4 victory in the NorCal girls water polo playoffs on Tuesday at Tokay High. Nov. 16, 2021

Lodi High’s Morgan Vice was named MVP of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II water polo playoffs after Lodi won the section title last weekend.

Vice, a sophomore, was one of seven Lodi players on the All-Section team, with Sarah Campbell, Emily Engle and Shelby Richardson on the first team, and Jenna Bigelow, Ava Sepulveda and goalkeeper Lydia Campbell on the second team.

Vice scored eight goals in the playoff opener, an 18-5 victory over Sonora, then had two goal sin a 7-3 win over Bella Vista in the semifinals. Against Ponderosa in the championship, Vice scored one. On Tuesday, Vice scored three goals in an 8-4 victory over Ripon in the first round of the NorCal Division III playoffs.

Vice was one of the top 11 players across all divisions in the section. League opponent Lilie Kirby from St. Mary’s, and Ponderosa goalkeeper Grace Mensing, whom the Flames beat in the D-II championship, were also in that group.

Davis’ Lindsay Taylor was the D-II MVP, and Dixon’s Brianna Humphries was the D-III MVP.

The Lodi boys had six players on the All-Section teams, with two first-teamers in Braden Endter and Nathan Larson.

Second-team Lodi players included goalkeeper Nathan Peterson, Anthony Celli, Dane Cranford and Guy Hein.

Endter made the top 15 across all divisions, with Jesuit’s Keegan Moore out of Division I named MVP.

Flames’ season ends in NorCal semifinals

Lodi’s girls and boys squad traveled to Palo Alto on Thursday to tangle with Gunn High.

The Flames’ girls team, the No. 3 seed, dropped an 11-8 loss to No. 2 Gunn. The boys’ team, the No. 5 seed, was still playing the top-seeded host as of press time.

“We’ve been talking about being in the moment and being present for the games, so when you finally finish, the emotions come from the suppression in order to be in the moment,” said Lodi coach Rob Elrod. “Taking it from that Jordan documentary, The Last Dance, where he says you have to be in the moment. In the moment the girls responded.”

Emily Engle, Sarah Campbell and Shelby Richardson scored two goals each, while Vice and Ava Sepulveda scored one each. Goalkeeper Lydia Campbell tallied seven saves.

It was a bittersweet moment for the Flames, who won the program’s first section title and advanced to the NorCal playoffs for the first time. Elrod said none of his seniors are planning to play in college.

“So knowing that, our sophomores and our juniors have become pretty attached to our seniors,” Elrod said. “They talked about about this has been so much fun and everything. So yeah.”

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