High School Girls Water Polo: Cardinals’ season ends with wild-card loss

Whittier goalie Sylvia Ortega can’t prevent this shot for a goal during Tuesday’s CIF-SS Division 4 wild-card playoff game against Buena Park. Whittier lost, 9-8. (Keith Birmingham / Staff Photographer)

By Eric Terrazas, Staff Writer

WHITTIER – Whittier High School’s girls water polo season came to an end Tuesday as it lost 9-8 to Buena Park in a CIF-Southern Section Division 4 wild-card game at Palm Park.

After the visiting Coyotes built a 7-6 lead at halftime, the defenses took over as both teams combined for just four goals during the second half.

Araceli Juarez scored six goals to lift Buena Park (15-12), an at-large entry from the Freeway League. The Coyotes advance to Thursday’s first-round match against top-seeded Bonita (21-7).

“I’m very happy with the win,” Buena Park coach Jeff Ra said. “I’m very proud of them. They did a very good job on defense.”

Jastine Vasquez scored six goals to lead Whittier (8-20), which posted a 3-2 Del Rio League record to finish in a three-way tie for second place.

“We started out with a rough stretch,” Whittier coach Rilesh Desai said. “It was a rebuilding year with a new coach. We put it together at the end of the season. We didn’t make CIF last year. I’m proud of the girls, they came a long way.”

After Juarez gave Buena Park a 9-7 lead with 2:47 remaining in regulation, Vasquez scored with 2:18 left to cut the Coyotes’ lead to one.

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