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Tiger teams heading in different directions


Water polo preview — The NHS boys are shooting to dethrone Southridge, while the girls team is rebuilding following last years state title run

In most years, both of Newberg’s water polo teams have been on relatively even footing, each challenging for yet another state title.

That may not be the case in 2013, when the boys will continue their quest to take down two-time defending state champion Southridge, but the girls are starting over nearly from scratch after losing just about every impact player from last year’s unbeaten state title squad. by: SETH GORDON - Chasing at state title - Newberg returns all six starters, including senior Spencer McMaster, from last year's state runner-up team, but head coach Jim McMaster said he believes he will have a solid 10-player rotation as the Tigers chase down two-time defending state champion Southridge.

The boys not only return all seven starters, including goalie Kyle Hansen, but head coach Jim McMaster said he is hoping to establish a 10- or possibly even 11-man rotation in which each player will be able to do play his role and therefore keep all the players fresh and rested.

Seniors Spencer McMaster, Corbin Day, Craig Beecher, Landry Saunders and Barrett Allen will likely form the core of the team, but Seth Miller, David Flores Juarez and Zach Schrage could all crack the starting lineup. Cameron Kisling and Eric Wilson will also fight to be in the rotation.

Hansen was in and out of the pool over the summer after suffering a concussion and has been fighting the flu this preseason, but McMaster is prepared to move Beecher or Kisling into the net if necessary.

In order to beat Southridge, Newberg will have to improve its defense, especially in terms of containing the Skyhawks’ two-meter players, but McMaster is also pushing his team to be more aggressive and take more shots on offense, which was a problem a year ago.

NHS girls

After losing one of the best classes of players – Alysha Bush, Cassie Beecher, Hadley Leatherman, Kylie Dunn, Rebekah Carey and Abbie Woginrich — in school history, McMaster and assistant coach Cari Blanchard will be rebuilding the team and the program from the ground up.

Newberg’s most experienced returning player, Grace Brockie, will take over for USC recruit Hadley Leatherman in goal, leaving the field positions to underclassmen like Elizabeth Andrews, Claire Boenisch, Tia Lattanzio, Alena Lam, Remy Saunders and Rachel Seymour.

“There are a lot of girls that could step up into a position,” McMaster said. “We graduated some pretty heavy hitters last year, so it’s going to be a rebuilding year. But (assistant) Cari (Blanchard) does a good job coaching, so it’s all up in the air. We’ll be competitive.”

The Tigers will open the 2013 season with a home doubleheader versus David Douglass on Sept. 3.